Munchers of Hard Tack
or
Jordan is a Hard Road to Travel
Ritual of the Third Degree


 
1888


G.M.: We are about to open our Lodge in the third degree. The Grand Lord High Dog Catcher will satisfy himself that all present are members in good standing of this degree.
G.L.H.D.C., after looking at all the members he will say:
Grand Muncher, I am satisfied that all the members present are entitled to remain.
G.M.:
Grand Lord High Dog Catcher, you will repair to the dog pound and ascertain whether or not there are any victims in waiting to take this sublime degree.
The G.L.H.D.C. retires and soon after gives one rap on the inner door, which is opened by the Grand Inside Sentinel, and he approaches the altar and, after saluting the Grand Muncher, will say:
G.L.H.D.C.:
Grand Muncher, I find in the dog pound a victim in waiting to receive this most sublime degree of the secret circle, who now awaits your pleasure.
G.M.:
Admit the victim.
The Grand Lord High Dog Catcher and Officer of the Day will retire to the dog pound and in due time return to the Lodge, accompanied by the candidate, who will be halted inside the door, and perfect quiet will be maintained for a few minutes.
G.M., in loud sepulchral voice:
Who is this that would try to intrude himself upon us during our silent deliberations?
G.L.H.D.C.:
Brother , who has been regularly initiated in the first and second degrees of our noble Order, now seeks further advancement by being initiated into the sublime degree of the secret circle.
G.M.:
'Tis well. Present the candidate to this chair. This degree denotes silence. Our work is all done in silence and in a whisper, and there will be a terrible punishment inflicted upon the member who so far forgets himself as to make the least noise during our deliberations. The Grand Lord High Dog Catcher will now place the candidate before the altar in proper position to take the obligation pertaining to this degree.
The candidate will be placed before the altar, kneeling on the right knee, the right hand on the left breast and the left hand on top of his head. The room will be partially darkened.
G.L.H.D.C.:
Grand Muncher, the candidate is in proper position and desires to become a member of this noble Order, and by previous examination I have found him worthy and he now awaits the obligation.
Officer of the Day:
I have also found him worthy and insist that the obligation be administered and in such a way and in such a manner that he will remember it as long as he lives.
G.M.:
You have heard the remarks of the Grand Lord High Dog Catcher and Grand Officer of the Day, are you willing to take the obligation of this degree?
Candidate answers:
I am.
G.M.:
Then repeat after me, using your name where I use mine, the obligation pertaining to this degree: I, , do most solemnly promise and agree that if admitted into full membership in this Order I will be a gentleman at all times and under all circumstances, and will do all that lies in my power to assist a worthy brother Muncher when in distress. I furthermore promise that if I see him likely to be beaten while playing a game of cards, or see him about to be cheated in a horse trade, I will warn him even at the risk of my life. Furthermore, I promise to not do anything that will bring reproach upon this noble Order or a brother of this degree. Furthermore, I promise to not reveal any of the secrets of this degree. For the faithful performance of all this I bind myself under a no less penalty than that of being expelled from this Order and
debarred from all its right and benefits.
G.M.:
The Grand Lord High Dog Catcher will present the candidate to the Grand Vice Muncher to receive the charge.
G.V.M.:
My friend you have passed through the first two degrees of this noble Order, and as you have doubtless observed they have been for the amusement of the members; yet I trust they have at the same time taught you a good moral lesson that will long be remembered by you. In this degree yon have doubtless been expecting something of a similar character, but I am sorry to inform you that you will be greatly disappointed. You have, no doubt, ere this observed that everything pertaining to this degree has been done in silence and decorum, and unless you keep silent as to what transpires, the penalty of the obligation which you have voluntarily taken upon yourself will be rigidly enforced. You will now be conducted to the Grand Assistant Muncher, who will ask you certain questions which you will be expected to answer truthfully and a failure on your part to do so may cost you your life, for aught I know.
G.L.H.D.C.:
Grand Assistant Muncher, by order of the Grand Vice Muncher, I present you this candidate. You are to deal with him as you think best and as the occasion demands, if, in your judgment, the questions propounded to him are answered truthfully.
G.A.M.:
You have but two more steps to take until you will have passed through this sublime degree, and I trust that when you become a full fledged Muncher, your conduct will be such that you will not only be an honor to yourself, but also to the Order of the Munchers of Hard Tack. I will now ask you a few questions relative only to such things as I deem it right and proper for us to know, and I hope and trust your answers will be satisfactory, as your further advancement in this noble Order will depend entirely upon those answers. Do you approve of the first two degrees of this Order? Answer, I do.
Will you do as you promised in your obligation, viz: Keep silent as to the workings of this, as well as of the preceding degrees, and not tell any of the secrets, not even to your wife (or sweetheart?) Answer, I will.
Your answers are satisfactory.
You will now be conducted to the altar by the Grand Lord High Dog Catcher when the Grand Muncher will take charge of you.
G.M.:
I will now demand of you another obligation pertaining to this degree. Are you willing to proceed?
Candidate answers:
I am.
G.M.:
Repeat after me the obligation, using your name where I use mine.
I, , do solemnly promise that I will not reveal any of the secrets that have been imparted to me, or may hereafter be imparted to me. I furthermore promise that I will not reveal anything that has taken place in this lodge room. I furthermore promise, upon the honor of a gentlemen, that what is about to be imparted to me will be kept a profound secret; to all of which I solemnly promise, binding myself under a no less penalty than that of having my head shaved, my body tarred and feathered, and rode out of town on a sharp rail.
G.M.:
Grand Lord High Dog Catcher, remove the hoodwink and conduct the candidate to the dog pound, when, after he is duly prepared, you will return with him to the Lodge room where he will be made one of us in word and deed.
The lodge room will now be prepared to give the candidate a warm reception. Place the paddle and other implements of torture, such as knives, saws, revolvers, handcuffs, gum, swords, &c, on the altar. The should be a new one, partially filled with beer with a doughnut in it, and be placed upon the altar with a beer glass beside it. The Grand Muncher will order the hoodwink removed when he will dip the glass in the and fill it with beer and hand it to the candidate and ask him to drink. If he refuses the Munchers will say in unison, "he refuses to drink," when they will form a procession and match in single file around the altar in a quiet and solemn manner, and each in turn will take a swallow of the beer, the glass being handed to them by the Grand Muncher. After which the glass is again filled and handed to the candidate who is again asked by the Grand Muncher to drink.
If he still refuses, the Munchers will say, "he still refuses," the Grand Muncher will then say, if you refuse to drink of this virgin water you cannot become a member of this noble Order. He will again be handed the glass and requested to drink, if he still refuses, the Grand Muncher will command:
G.M.:
Bring forth the chains and bind him fast, bind him hand and foot and cast him out from among us, as he is unfit to become a Muncher of Hard Tack.
The Grand Lord High Dog Catcher with the assistance of the Munchers will bind him with chains and cast him out in the dog pound where he is left a few minutes for reflection, when if he succumbs and agrees to partake he is brought in and handed the glass again, and if he drinks the Grand Muncher will say bravo.
The Members will say:
Let it be recorded.
G.K. or R.:
It is recorded.
If the candidate takes the glass without any hesitation and drinks, the above can be omitted, and the Grand Muncher will say, bravo, and the members will say, Let it be recorded.
G.M.:
My dear brother, for by such name I am now permitted to call you, I am glad you have complied with, our rules and regulations; by so doing you are found worthy to become a member or our Noble Order. You will now be conducted to the Grand Past Muncher who will give you such instructions as will be of vast and vital importance to you in after life.
G.L.H.D.C.:
Grand Past Muncher, by order of the Grand Muncher I present you this candidate for further instructions.
G.P.M.:
You have done nobly during this initiation, and I hope and trust you will continue to do so throughout the remainder of your life. I congratulate you for the zeal manifested for our noble Order, and the earnestness you display to keep secret all that has transpired within our secret retreats. My parting advice to you is, do as you have solemnly promised. Consider your obligations as binding outside the Lodge room as in it, and you will then command the respect and esteem of all your brother Munchers. We pledge ourselves to assist you in every way possible. If you are out of employment we will assist you to secure it, and if you have employment, we agree to watch over and guard you and see that you do not bring reproach upon our noble Order; and remember that should you at any time be found guilty of doing any thing wrong, we claim the right to call you to an account, and if found guilty, expel you from the Order. You will now be conducted to the Grand Muncher to receive the final instructions.
G.L.H.D.C.:
Most eminent Grand Muncher, by order or the Grand Past Muncher, I present you this candidate for the final instructions.
G.M.:
My dear brother, as you have doubtless observed, we have done all the work or this degree in silence for various reasons:
First. There have been some brothers who have thoughtlessly violated their solemn obligations and have communicated to the profane outside world some of the secrets or this Order.
Second. If there should happen to be any eavesdroppers, or victims in the dogpound waiting to be initiated into our sublime mysteries, they could not hear what was taking place in our sacred retreat among our secret circle. There are still other reasons of which it is unnecessary to acquaint you of at this, time. I will now instruct you in the secret work of our Order.
We have an alarm at the outer door, which is one rap; this will attract the attention or the Outside Sentinel, to whom you will give the password, which is . This will admit you to the dog pound, where you will clothe yourself in the proper regalia or your rank, approach the inner door and give two raps; this will attract the attention or the Grand Inside Guard to whom you will give the countersign . The
Grand Inside Guard will report you to the Grand Vice Muncher, who will direct him to admit you if correct. You will then approach the altar and address the Grand Muncher with the sign or the Order, thus . He will recognize you as a member and answer thus , when you will be seated with the members.
Should you become dry and wish to retire before the Lodge is closed, you will approach the center of the room, and address the Grand Vice Muncher with the sign of the Order, and say, I am dry and wish to go out and get a drink. He will recognize you and say, you have my permission to retire, providing you invite me to accompany you.
If you are visiting your own Lodge and are without the password the Grand Muncher must be informed, and if you are entitled to it he will cause it to be communicated to you.
We also have a grand hailing sign which is made thus, and is only to be given when a brother is over twenty feet distant, and then only when you know there are other persons near who would see it and think you were doing it at them.
We also have a sign or distress, which is given thus, , and is to be used only when you have a broken arm, and always use the broken arm to make the sign. The answer is given in the same manner.
We, also have a grip, which is made thus, , and it is to be given only while shaking hands with a brother Muncher of Hard Tack.
We also have a recognition sign, which is given in this manner, and is to be used only in the Lodge room or when you meet a brother Muncher on the street.
The password is .
Have you got it? Answer, yes.
My brother, these instructions must be carefully observed, as they will procure the privileges of the Order and without them you cannot enjoy these privileges. You will now proceed to the desk or the Grand Keeper of Records and sign the roll book of membership, when you will become a full fledged member of the Munchers of Hard Tack and a worthy brother among us.
After the Candidate signs the roll book of membership the Munchers will gather around and congratulate him and give him the grip and recognition sign.

G.M.: If there are no more victims in the dog pound, we will proceed to close this Lodge of Munchers of Hard Tack. The Munchers will now gather around the altar.
The Munchers will gather around the altar in a circle, with the Candidate inside.
G.M.: We will now sing our closing ode.
You bet your life we've got you now
And got your money too, sir,
And if you now go back on us,
We'll split your in two, sir.
 
And now remember what you've done,
So you can help us, too, sir,
To help some other son of a gun
This Order to go through, sir.
 
Our secret signs will be required,
The ante room to pass, sir,
And if you just now have them all,
Why stick them in your , sir.
 
You've got the secrets of this Lodge,
And see you keep them well, sir,
For if you ever let them out,
We'll send you straight to hades, sir.
G.M.:
Brothers of the noble Order of Munchers of Hard Tack, we are about to close this Lodge and scatter to our respective abodes and be wrapped in the arms of Morpheus. Be careful, especially if you talk in your sleep, that none of you reveal the secrets of this Lodge, or the transactions of this meeting, for if you do we will administer the worst punishment man can invent upon any member who shall violate the obligations he took when he became a member of this nob1e Order. We will now stand adjourned until such time when the Lord High Dog Catcher shall report more victims to be initiated. Brethren farewell.
Brethren respond in unison:
Farewell. Gavel.