Robert Burns Society of America

No date


The officers of Tarn O'Shanter Cavern, No. …, are commanded to assume their stations. Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark, after ascertaining whether the outer approaches to the Cavern are secure against all foes, you will return and keep watch at the inner door until otherwise ordered.
Sergeant retires to outer chamber, returns, stands attention and salutes the Chief.
Mighty Chief, I find that the outer approaches are sufficiently guarded.
Vice Chief, I desire that all within these cavern walls shall prove that they are faithful members of the Robert Burns Society of America.
To assure ourselves, Mighty Chief, that no one is in our midst who is not a faithful member of either our cavern or some associate cavern of our National Society, I recommend that our Captain-of-Bagpipes determine whether all present are qualified to remain.
You have spoken well. Captain-of-Bagpipes proceed to such duty.
Captain-of-Bagpipes gets permanent and annual pass words from each, approaches altar at right angles and salutes.
I am satisfied, Mighty Chief, that all present are entitled to remain,
MIGHTY CHIEF, * * * *, all rise:
Clansmen, we are again assembled within these cavernous walls for the sake of Auld Lang Syne, and to perpetuate the memory of him who has long since passed o'er the keystone of that "Brig o' Doon" from which no traveler e'er returns. We all revere the memory and writings of that great exponent of Common Humanity whose lot was not cast with that of Kings, Monarchs, Princes and High Potentates, but who sprang from the ranks of the meek and lowly, and whose fame has, nevertheless, spread to all parts of the earth. His name will occupy the tablets of love and memory as long as mankind exists. * * *. To the memory of the Immortal Bobby Burns! All hold up right hand loosely closed, as though in the act of toasting his memory.
I now declare this Tarn O'Shanter Cavern, No …, of the Robert Burns Society of America duly open for the transaction of such matters as may come before it. Together let us give the sign of the society.
All give sign. *.
Be seated Clansmen.
First Part

Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark, ascertain if any are outside our portals who, loving the name and memory of our Immortal Bobby Burns, desire admission to our Cavern.
Sergeant salutes Mighty Chief, goes to ante-room and returns.
I find outside our portals a stranger who craves admission.
Sergeant, you may proceed with our Guardian-of-Treasures to the outer walls to meet and interview this stranger
Take good note of his manner of speech, his demeanor and bearing, and be on guard that you may not be deceived or inveigled into admitting one who may prove a traitor to our society. If he appears worthy, our Guardian-of-Treasures may demand from him the customary toll. You may then blindfold him and lead him by a circuitous route into our presence.
Sergeant and Guardian-of-Treasures repair to ante-room, the Guardian-of-Treasures collects the necessary fee from candidate, after which he is blindfolded and asked if he admires Burns and his writings. On answering in the affirmative, the candidate is brought to the inner door, where three distinct raps are given.
CAPTAIN-OF-BAGPIPES, stationed near door on inside, in a loud voice:
Who seeks admission to our cavern?
SERGEANT-OF-THE-CUTTYSARK, in an audible voice:
A stranger who claims to love and revere the name of the Immortal Bobby Burns.
Our Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark reports having in his charge a stranger, who, having learned something of the objects and aims of our Society, desires admission to our Cavern.
Ascertain and announce the stranger's name.
Captain-of-Bagpipes gets name and announces:
His name is …, and under the guardianship of our Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark, he seeks permission to affiliate with our Scottish Society and to become a member of our cavern.
MIGHTY CHIEF: You have all heard the announcement of our Captain-of-Bagpipes. Are there any present who know of any objection to this stranger becoming a member of our Cavern? Pause.
There being no objection, Captain-of-Bagpipes, you will open wide the portals and permit him to be conducted to our presence.
Sergeant brings in candidate, and, after marching him around room in company with Captain-of-Bagpipes, halts him before the Vice Chief. The Guardian-of-Treasures returns to his desk.
What seeks this stranger?
He craves permission to become a member of our cavern, and desires a knowledge of the mysteries of our society.
His aim is a praiseworthy one. Addressing candidate: Though your eyes be shrouded in darkness, it has been your especial privilege to enter the sacred precincts of our Scottish cavern. Be, therefore, attentive of ear, obedient to all commands, and let not your tongue give utterance except when commanded or questioned. Pause—then in solemn voice: Do you hold in veneration and respect the name of Bobby Burns, so dear to our society? 
Candidate answers:
I do.
It is well, for the name of the Bard of Ayr is the very foundation stone of our society and the pivot on which revolves its objects and aims. Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark, you may now conduct the stranger to our Chieftain-of-the-Tartan for further tuition.
Candidate is again marched around room, this time the quartette singing some appropriate Scottish song, or, if no quartette, an air on the bagpipes by Captain-of-Bagpipes as he marches with candidate. Halt in front of Chieftain-of-the-Tartan.
What desireth this stranger?
Wishing to become one of us, and having expressed his love and devotion for the sacred and honored name of Bobby Burns, he awaits further instructions.
You have learned thus far that our Society is founded on the love we bear for that Immortal Scottish poet whose writings so strongly appeal to Common Humanity, the Brotherhood of Man, and the frailties to which we are common heir. "MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN MAKES COUNTLESS THOUSANDS MOURN." To be one of us, it must be your bounden duty to lend your influence, small though it may be, wherever possible, towards making countless thousands happy, and, as the Immortal Scottish Bard prescribes, "TO COMFORT THOSE THAT MOURN." You must know that the adoption of "TAM O' SHANTER," the hero of Burns' world-famed story, as the title of our Cavern, is not to be construed as counseling you to emulate Tarn's example in his over-indulgence in the cup that temporarily cheers and his close acquaintance with "BOLD JOHN BARLEYCORN," but, ever remembering that "A MAN'S A MAN FOR A' THAT," to take warning by the lesson offered us, for
"Whosoe'r that tale of truth shall read.
Each man and mother's son take heed.
Whene'r to drink you are inclined.
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind.
Think well, for you may buy the joys too dear—
Pause, and remember Tam o' Shanter's mare."
As a token of appreciation of your having passed the scrutiny of our noble Vice Chief, and believing you worthy of still further progress, I confer upon you the decoration of the Tartan, the insignia of this station. Puts Tartan badge on candidate. Sergeant, you will now consign this stranger to our Chieftain-of the-Kilt, that he may hearken to further words of wisdom and advice.
Sergeant conducts candidate around room accompanied by bagpipes or song by quartette, halting at station of Chieftain-of-the-Kilt.
"Stranger, whither wandrest thou?"
Having thus far safely passed the stations of our noble Vice Chief and Chieftain-of-the-Tartan, he seeks such additional knowledge as may entitle him to be one of us.
My friend, assembled here are those whose courage and bravery, coupled with their love for the name of the Immortal Bobby Burns, have entitled them to an honored seat in our Cavern, We are all of us—whether first seeing the light of day on Scotia's crags and glens or on the bogs of the Emerald Isle, whether first breathing the breath of life on Albion's fertile meadows or on fair Columbia's shores—staunch friends of good old bonnie Scotland, for she gave to us and to the world our beloved Bobby Burns. Here the Violet, the Rose and the Shamrock together entwine the thistle in adoration of the name of Scotia's Bard, I counsel you to lay these sentiments to your heart. In order that you may be received without fear or danger into the presence of our Chieftain-of-the-Sporran to hearken unto his words of wisdom and advice, I present you with this emblem of the Scottish kilt, Puts kilt badge on candidate. Wear it as your further passport and as a remembrance of this station, Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark, lead now this stranger to the chair of our Chieftain-of-the-Sporran that he may learn still more from his wise counsel and be further prepared to attain his desires.
Candidate is marched around room as before, accompanied by either bagpipes or song by quartette, and halted at station of Chieftain-of-the-Sporran.
Why stands this stranger before me?
Having been decorated with the insignia of the Tartan and Kilt, he craves permission to join our Cavern. He would have such further words of advice as you may see fit to give him before being ushered into the presence of our Mighty Chief.
Traveler, I congratulate you in having thus far so conducted yourself as to reach in safety the respective stations of our noble Tartan and Kilt under the guidance of our trusty Sergeant, Before proceeding further, you must know that the members of our society are composed of staunch adherents of good old Caledonia, and naturally are fond of sociability and conviviality, when such are in proper season. They love the spirit of brotherhood which makes the world akin and cements together the friendship of our caverns, realizing as they do, that while each has his own shortcomings
"For a' that and a' that.
It's coming yet for a' that
That man to man the warld o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that."
They do not band together as "thirsty neighbors who meet to drown their cares," nor is it their sole desire
"While at the foaming cup to sit and quaff
Primed by the ale, at every jest to laugh."
With the knowledge you have already gained, you will realize that one of the aims of our Society is to meet in commemoration of the memory and writings of him whom we love to refer to in affectionate terms as plain "BOBBY BURNS." He had his faults like other writers who have given of their best for the uplifting of mankind, but he told them freely to the world that Humanity might profit.
We, too, have our failings, and must "remember that we are dust defiled with sin," and that "to step aside is human." His dislike for hypocrisy and his sympathy for human failings were evidenced when he wrote
"My son, these maxims make a rule.
And lump them all together,
The rigid righteous is a fool.
The rigid wise another.
The cleanest wheat that e'er was fanned
May have some grains of chaff in,
So ne'er a fellow-creature slight
For random fits o' daffin."
Your wearing of the Tartan and Kilt insignia of our Cavern is convincing evidence of your worthiness to reach this station. May you also successfully enter the presence of our Mighty Chief for final examination and instruction, and to aid you in this undertaking, be further decoiated with this Sporran, the emblem of this station.
Places Sporran badge on candidate.
Sergeant, you may now usher this stranger into the presence of our Mighty Chief. Farewell!
Arriving at the Mighty Chief's station, after marching candidate again around room with bagpipe or quartette accompaniment, the Sergeant says:
Mighty Chief, this stranger, duly bedecked with the coveted insignia of the Tartan, Kilt and Sporran of our Society, thus showing that he has safely passed the interrogations of our noble Vice Chief and Chieftains, comes now before you in the earnest hope that he may be admitted as a member of our Cavern.
You have succeeeded in reaching a critical period of your journey towards the attainment of your desires. You have already expressed your reverence for the name of him for whom our Society is named. Do you believe in the existence of One who over-rules our destinies?
Candidate answers.

Before proceeding further, you must solemnly obligate yourself to abide by our laws, regulations, rules and usages. Be assured that such obligation will not in the least conflict with your social or political rights or religious faith. With this understanding, are you willing to proceed?
Candidate answers:
I am.
MIGHTY CHIEF, * * * *, all rise:
Clansmen, he consents to assume the obligation. Sergeant, conduct him to the altar.
Sergeant turns him about face and slowly leads him to the altar.
Summon all to come to attention.
Chieftains, Officers and Clansmen of Tarn o'Shanter Cavern, No. …, I am commanded by our Mighty Chief to bring you to attention. Assume your positions around the altar that you may witness the impressive and solemn obligation that this stranger must take before being one of us.
All form around altar in shape of thistle, the officers standing at points nearest their stations.
All are in position Mighty Chief.
Mighty Chief decends from his station and approaches altar, when the respective Chieftains speak as follows:
Balance well the words you are about to speak!
And ever sacredly remember the obligation you are about to take.
"Engrave these counsels on thy soul,"
MIGHTY CHIEF, to candidate:
You will place your left hand over your heart, and your right hand on the book of Burns' writings before you, Candidate does so. Say "I," mentioning your name, and repeat after me:
Candidate repeats after Mighty Chief, the following:

I, …, do most sacredly and solemnly promise that I will comply with all the regulations and laws—of the Robert Burns Society of America—that I will obey the laws—and respect, honor and protect—the flag of the United States of America,—That I will not knowingly defraud, cheat or wrong—this Society or any member thereof—but will warn him against any impending danger—that I may become aware of;—that I will lend him or his family in distress a helping hand—when in my power so to do—without material injury to myself or others: That loving and honoring the name of Bobby Burns—I will uphold and spread as far as possible the moral lessons taught by his writings—and the principles of this Society,—That I will not knowingly recommend for membership any one of immoral or undesirable character—neither will I oppose the admission of any one—solely because of personal feelings,—That I will not, unless by special dispensation—or lawful act—reveal, disclose or divulge—the passwords, signs or secret work of this society.
Should I violate this, my solemn pledge—I consent to be expelled—in which event, may I be denounced—as one unfit and unworthy—to associate with any true and honest man—whom Burns would have called his brother—and may resultant misery be my portion,—And should I, by voluntary act—retire from membership in this Society—I pledge my sacred word of honor—that I will ever hold it in esteem—and keep its secrets inviolate.
We have hearkened unto his declarations, and bear witness to his avowals.
His words are indellibly impressed on our memories.
His solemn promises are recorded in our innermost hearts.
May He who is the mightiest of Mighty Chiefs keep him steadfast in his pledges.
Lift the veil of darkness that obscures the vision of our friend, that he may see his surroundings.
Sergeant lifts hoodwink from candidate.
In the words of him whose memory we revere, it is my pleasure to now greet you as: "My lov'd, my honor'd much respected friend." Surrounding you in the form of a thistle, that meek and lowly, but lov'd, honor'd and much respected emblem of old Scotland, are our Brother Clansmen, all staunch and true to the principles of our Society. Holding up a thistle. How typical is this Scottish emblem of the humble birth and rise to world-wide fame of Bobby Burns. It's thorny, jagged points reminding us of his vicissitudes, his sharpest pangs and "wandering stabs of remorse" are here eclipsed by the sweet softness of that beautiful silken floss of purple hue, which, like dissolving views, or as the canopy of heaven, radiates and brings out in bold relief his better and purer nobleness of nature. On the breast of each of our Brother Clansmen nestle the thistle and violet in fond embrace, typical of the bonds of friendship between Old Scotia and Fair Columbia. May these bonds never be torn asunder!
"Hail Caledonia! Name forever dear,
Before whose sons you're honor'd to appear."
And Hail Columbia! whose bounteous gift to thee.
Is brotherhood of man and sweetest liberty.
I sincerely congratulate you, my friend, in having thus far attained such a degree of knowledge as to entitle you to this gude blue bonnet of Tam o' Shanter. Places Tam o' Shanter cap on candidate's head. Cherish and wear it, not as the crown which rests uneasy on the head of king or monarch, but as an honor'd covering worn by one who realizes that
"The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that,"
and that "princes and lords are but the breath of kings; an honest man's the noblest work of God."
You have now proceeded as far in our mysteries as your present state will permit. Our Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark will accompany you outside our portals, and when commanded, you will return to our Cavern for further tuition,
Mighty Chief returns to his station and gives * * * *.
Chieftains, Officers and Clansmen, you will return to your respective places and remain standing. They do so.
The Sergeant marches candidate to base of thistle outline on floor, then along the entire outline of thistle to the starting point, and thence to the ante-room, the quartette or ensemble singing something appropriate. When candidate is out of room and door closed.
Mighty Chief declares the Cavern at ease.

Second Part
Arrange room for Tarn o' Shanter's ride from Ayr through Alloway's haunted kirk-yard, where his mare is halted, and thence over the Brig o' Doon.
At lower end of room place table and three chairs, lighted candle on table. Hidden from view of candidate have wind machine, thunder producer, &c., also Tam's mechanical horse, to be brought forth at proper moment.
At upper end of room place Alloway Kirk scene, with wide open doorway, arranged with curtain to drop at proper moment. At some convenient distance from the Kirk have the Brig o' Doon.
A few members dressed as warlocks, ghosts, witches, one representing "Nannie" in Cuttysark, another as the deil with dog's head, a couple of open coffins, standing on end, with grotesque figure in each holding lighted candle or taper. Make effect as weird as possible, and have red fire burning while candidate observes performance. Souter Johnnie (somewhat inebriated) sits at table with landlord of inn, (both smoking long clay pipes, if convenient.)
At a given signal the candidate is brought from ante-room hoodwinked and dressed as Tam o' Shanter, and left standing at the table with Souter Johnnie and the landlord.
Now Tam, sit ye doon for a wee assists candidate to vacant table, his back to audience, and lifts his hoodwink.
We'll tak' anither wee drap o' the nappy afore ye gang hame
Come, landlord, just a doch an' doris for the three of us.
Landlord retires and immediately returns with three mugs.
SOUTER JOHNNIE, raising cup:
Here's wishing ye a safe journey hame, Tam.
LANDLORD, raising his cup:
An' here's hoping ye'll pass the Brig o' Doon afore the warlocks get ye. All drink.
SOUTER JOHNNIE, goes over to candidate, lowers his hoodwink, assists him to rise and walk a few paces:
It's a wild unco' black night. Sound of thunder and howling wind. An' "the wind blaws as 'twad blaw its last." Wear this around y'r shoulders to keep the rain oot. Places oil cloth around neck and shoulders of candidate.
"Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches, Tam maun ride."
Wait here till I fetch y'r grey mare Meg, Dark as 'tis, she'll find the way. Retires and returns with mechanical mare. Whoa! Whoat
Sick a stormy nicht, more thunder and wind and mony a lonesome lang Scot's mile to gang afore ye meet y'r ain wife Kate. Assists candidate to mount.
Noo, Tam, ye'r "weel mounted on y'r grey mare Meg, and a better never lifted leg." Gude nicht!
Sae lang, Tam, m' auld crony. Keep y'r ee peeled as ye draw nigh the kirk.
Candidate is then started off at a brisk gallop arcund room, the horse being tilted at intervals to make it interesting, though not enough to allow him to fall, while the members may hoot and yell and throw remarks at him as he passes. After being jolted around room once or twice he is halted in front of the open doorway of the haunted kirk, where sounds of bagpipes, discordant music and revelry, amid howling wind and thunder, are heard. He is then made to sit on horse backwards, the horse being turned rear end toward kirk, and the candidate is made to grasp a support on the rear of the horse which causes him to bend slightly forward with his face towards the horse's tail. Hoodwink is lifted from candidate's eyes, allowing him to view what transpires through the open doorway of the kirk, where the warlocks, witches, &c,, are dancing and prancing around in lively reels, quadrilles, hornpipes, &c,, the deil with dog's head mask blowing the bagpipes, and "Nannie," in her cuttysark, being the most lively and prominent dancer. At this juncture, the one who manipulates the mechanical horse (speaking for Tam) yells out: "Weel done, Cuttysark." Immediately all cease dancing and playing, yell and point with forefinger at Tam, and make as though going for him wind and thunder still continuing. "Nannie" pounces through the doorway, curtain drops, and lights are turned on, exposing "Nannie" with hands outstretched in a clawing, threatening attitude, who rushes for Tam, while Tam is galloped around room, and still riding backwards, finally comes to the "Brig o' Doon." "Nannie," while appearing to pursue Tam at a fast gait, keeps a little distance behind the mare until the middle of the bridge is almost reached, when she grabs the mare's tail and yanks it out, which automatically discharges a blank cartridge and at the same time causes a plentiful supply of water to be ejected into candidate's face and produces an odor that is far from pleasant. At this moment, candidate's hoodwink is again lowered, and after going a little distance the horse is made to prance and is so tilted as to make candidate fall to floor, members seeing that he does not get hurt. He is instructed in a whisper to lay quiet, is then placed on a bier and carried to a point between the Chief's chair and center of room, and the officers gather around bier.
What means this commotion? What has happened?
At early break of dawn, after the terrible storm of yester' night, the return home of Tarn o'Shanter's grey mare, "with foaming flanks and champing bit, riderless and tailless, led to a search for Tam, which resulted in the discovery of this, his body, in the River Doon.
"He "whose blossom buds in guilt,
Shall to the ground be cast,
And like the ruthless stubble toss'd
Before the sweeping blast."
"O, Tam, hadst thou but been sae wise.
As ta'en thy ain "wife Kate's advice."
"She tauld thee "weel thou wast a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum."
"She prophesy'd that, late or soon.
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon."
"Or cateh'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk,"
"O, Thou, Unknown Almighty Cause
Of all our hope and fear,
In whose dread presence even now.
Poor Tam is summoned to appear;
Thou giv'st the word, Thy creature man.
Is to existence brought;
Again Thou say'st 'ye sons of men.
Return ye into naught;'
Thou layest them with all their cares,
In everlasting sleep,
As with a flood Thou tak'st them off
With overwhelming sleep;
They flourish like the morning flow'r
In beauty's pride array'd.
But long ere night, cut down it lies
All wither'd and decayed."
Candidate is then conveyed on bier, accompanied by tolling of gong, into ante-room, where his hoodwink is taken off, as well as his Tam o' Shanter equipment. He remains there till called for next part.

Third Part
The Cavern is cleared of all scenery and paraphernalia used in second part, and remains as in first part, with the following exceptions: On right side of altar is placed the American Flag, and on left side the Scottish Flag, the folds of each resting on the open book of Burns' writings. When all is ready, Sergeant-of-the-Cuttysark goes to candidate in ante-room and escorts him to inner door, giving 3 raps, which is answered from within in a similar manner by the Captain-of-Bagpipes. The door is opened wide by Captain-of-Bagpipes, who says:
Why this disturbance? Is not our friend satisfied with what he has already seen and heard of the mysteries of our Society?
While duly thankful for what he has been permitted to see and hear, he still seeks further knowledge.
CAPTAIN-OF-BAGPIPES, turning to Mighty Chief and saluting:
Mighty Chief, is it your desire that he be allowed to proceed further into our mysteries?
Clansmen, all, this is a question of grave import! I leave it to you. What is the desire of this Cavern?
All together:
In the immortal name of Bobby Burns, let him proceed!
My friend, I again bid you a kindly welcome, and may your ears and eyes unerringly aid you to a perpetual recollection of the aims and objects of our Society. Captain-of-Bagpipes, you will allow our friend to proceed.
Captain-of-Bagpipes salutes and returns to his seat. Sergeant conducts candidate once slowly around room while an appropriate march is played on piano or organ, then proceeding with him at right angle to base of thistle, and thence to altar.
Mighty Chief gives * * * *, All rise.
Chieftain-of-the-Tartan, what do you observe?
Chieftain-of-the-Tartan descends from his station to the right side of altar, and pointing with right hand to the American Flag, says:
I observe that glorious, starspangled banner of freedom and liberty, so dear to the hearts of all Americans whether by birth or choice. How it thrills our hearts with love and patriotism. Each of its stars as it rests in its soft background of ethereal blue, like the spaceless firmament on high, reminds us that in every state and territory where Old Glory waives, there shall be found, as true as those stars and as straight as those bars, loyal and staunch member's; ox the Robert Burns Society of America, ever standing together, and ready to lay down their lives if necessary, for their homes, their families, and the Red, White and Blue.
And, Chieftain-of-the-Kilt, what do you observe?
Chieftain-of-the-Kilt, descends from his station to left-hand side of the altar, and with his left hand to the Scottish Flag, says:
I see the beloved flag of Old Scotia. How beautiful to look upon! As we glance at its graceful folds, we scent the sweet heather of the Highlands far away, and in fancy see the "wee, modest, crimson-tipped" daisy lifting its "unassuming head in humble guise" o'er the verdant meadows of the Lowlands. What pleasant memories it recalls to those of us who were born under it, and how it enthuses those of us who can trace in the remotest past some sprig of Scottish ancestry! To those of us who can neither claim Scottish birth or descent, it is loved, honored and recognized as the banner of that country which gave to the world that plowman poet whose name shall live through all ages.
And Chieftain-of-the-Sporran, what do you observe?
Chieftain-of-the-Sporran descends from his station to altar, and pointing to open book of Burns' writings, says:
I behold a book of more worth than the costliest of gems, of inestimable value to mankind, because it contains the writings and songs which have made imperishable the memory of that matchless poet and lyric minstrel, the chosen Bard of the Scottish people, and is the very foundation stone of our Society. Like those open pages, his life was an open book, diffusing to the world with powerful spell and untold charm, lessons of love for the beautiful in nature, of forgiveness and charity for the frailties of humanity, of friendship and help to the poor and needy, and disdain for the hypocritical righteous. On each side of the book, their graceful folds intermingling as in one common, sweet, accord, like hands across the sea, I see the glorious banners of Columbia and Caledonia, so typical of the bonds of union that shall never be assundered as long as our Society exists.
Mighty Chief raps once *, the 3 Chieftains return to their respective stations, and all are seated with the exception of candidate and sergeant who remain standing at the altar.
My friend, you have this evening been privileged to witness an exemplification of the principles of our Society whieh we trust will be of invaluable benefit to you in after life. You have almost accomplished the attainment of your desire to be one of us, and will now be conducted to our Vice Chief who will instruct you in the secret work of this Society, giving you the passwords and signs.
Sergeant conducts candidate to Vice Chief.
It is with pleasure that I perform this duty.
Before you can be admitted to onr Cavern after the doors are officially closed, you must give 3 distinct raps *** on the outer door, which will be answered from within by 2 raps ** when the Guard-of-the-Portals will open the door sufficiently to receive from you in a whisper the permanent pass word, which is The Guard-of-the-Portals will then admit you to the ante-room, when you will proceed to the inner door and give 2 distinct raps **, which will be answered from within by 1 rap * and the wicket opened. You will then give your name, the number and address of your Cavern, and the semi-annual pass word, which is On being admitted into the Cavern you will approach the altar at right angles, remaining there until noticed by the Mighty Chief, who will raise his hand, thus: shows candidate, when you will give the sign of the Society in this manner: describing in the air with both hands, the palms downward, the form or outline of a thistle, to which the Mighty Chief will respond by simply raising his right forearm, the palm of his hand towards you, when you will be seated. As you may be required at any time to prove that you are a member in good standing of our Society, you should always have with you your official receipt showing that all dues, assessments, etc. have been fully paid. Especially will this be required when visiting a sister Cavern, and in case a further test is desired, you should be prepared to answer the questions asked you. If asked whether you are a member of the Robert Burns Society of America, whether inside or outside of the Cavern, your answer must be a sentence containing the word "TAM." For example, "Yes I'm a TAM," or "Yes, I know something of TAM," or "TAM is a friend of mine," or any other sentence which may come to your mind containing the word "TAM." You must also remember in visiting and being admitted into any associate Cavern of our Society where you are not known, to first give the Visitiug Brother's Sign, which is done by halting at some distance from and facing the altar, remaining there until noticed by the Mighty Chief, when you will describe in the air with the right hand, palm downward, the figure 3 thus, which you will perceive is one-half of the outline or shape of a thistle. This sign will disclose to the members that you are a visiting brother clansman, when the Mighty Chief will give 4 raps **** and all will rise and extend to you the welcome sign, both arms outstretched and with open hands, thus: shows candidate. The Mighty Chief will then rap once * when all members of that associate Cavern will be seated. You will then march direct to the altar and give the regular sign of the Society as you would do in your own Cavern and as already explained. The saluting sign when about to address the Mighty Chief while the Cavern is in session, is made by raising the right hand with the four fingers extended like the prongs of a thistle, and the thumb turned inwards, in this manner: shows candidate bringing the tip of the forefinger to the right side of the forehead.
Before leaving the Cavern while in session, you must first ask the Mighty Chief it you may retire, and upon receiving his permission, approach the altar in the usual manner and give the usual sign of the Society as already described. One Brother Clansman of our Society may accost another with the hailing words "Hello Tam," The emblem of our Society is a hand holding a horse's tail by the stump end, this design being in the center of a circle on the lower part of a thistle outline, and the end of the tail extending a little below said circle, with the words "Remember Tam o' Shanter's Mare" around the said circle; while across the top part of the thistle outline are the initials "R. B. S. A. "meaning "Robert Burns Society of America," and under such initials the date "Jan. 25," designating the anniversary of Burns' birth. No one not a duly qualified member of our Society will be permitted to wear this emblem, whether in form of button, badge, pin, charm, ring or any other form. You will now be returned to the Mighty Chief, who will conferupon you the membership of this Society.
Sergeant conducts candidate to Mighty Chief.
I congratulate you upon having made such advancement. You have learned that our Society is founded in commemoration of him whose poetic achievements have endeared him to not only those of Scottish nativity and extract, but also among the peoples of all nations where the English language is spoken or understood. It is the purpose of this Society to keep alive and expand that sentiment. Robert Burns was born on the Twenty-Fifth of January, in the year of our Lord, 1759, in a lowly cottage situated a short distance from and between the Scottish town of Ayr and the old Alloway Kirk near the banks of the "Bonnie Doon." Your memorable canter this evening from "Auld Ayr, whom ne'er a town surpasses, for honest men and bonnie lasses," through Alloway kirk yard to the Brig o' Doon, which was really an admirable fete of equestrianism on your part, will serve to bring to your mind the locality of Burns' birth-place, at the same time forcibly reminding you of his warning to "Remember Tam o' Shanter's Mare." It is the duty of every member of our Society to remember the 25th day of January as a day of rejoicing and a day to commemorate. Year by year it is becoming more the custom to commemorate this day by some form of entertainment, and if at all possible, without injury to yourself or others, you should consider it your duty to attend any banquet, entertainment or gathering that may be given or take place under the auspices of our Society, in any locality in which you may be on the 25th of January. It must also be your duty to speak a good word for our Society whenever opportunity offers, and to lend your help in securing desirable new members who possess the necessary qualifications. With these objects in view, I present you with a copy of our By-Laws and a form of application. If more are needed you can procure same from our Keeper-of-Archives. And now, after giving you these final words of advice, I have the honor of conferring upon you the membership of our Society.
Father- of-the-Kirk approaches and with outstretched arms and hands over head of candidate, says:
"Be bles't with health, and peace, and sweet content." Returns to his station.
Mighty Chief gives four raps ****—all rise—candidate is turned face to audience.
Chieftains, Ofificers and Clansmen, I now declare Mr. …, a duly elected and fully qualified member of TAM O' SHANTER CAVERN, NO …, of the ROBERT BURNS SOCIETY OF AMERICA. Extend to him the welcome sign. All give the welcome sign—arms outstretched with open hands. To enable all to further congratulate our newly
made brother, I declare this Cavern at ease. Clansmen, all, in the name of our beloved Bobby Burns, extend to him the hand of fellowship and welcome.
After sufficient time has been allowed for extending congratulations to the new member, the Mighty Chief raps for order, and then proceeds with the regular order of business.

We are now about to separate and follow the various paths of our every-day lives. In returning to our respective walks and intermingling with those of the outside world, let us bear in mind the principles of our Society, exercising that charitable sentiment and that love for Common Humanity that are taught in Burns' writings. Our regular meeting nights are …, and our next meeting will be held on … evening, the … of …, * * * *, all rise. Clansmen, as a fitting close to our deliberations of this evening, and a parting remembrance of our own Bobby Burns, let us join voices and hands, singing "Auld Lang Syne." All sing, accompanied by piano or organ if possible. I now declare this session of Tam o' Shanter Cavern, No. …, of the Burns Society of America duly closed.