Knights of the Mystic Chain
Degree of Chivalry

This ritual was adopted by the Supreme Lodge in 1900.

Officers should wear regalia as prescribed in the Degree of Chivalry. The following articles should be made ready for properly and speedily giving the work: One paper dunce-cap, one wooden shoe, one large stool, twenty-five feet rope, one steeled collar, one tight-fitting sleeveless jacket (if the jacket is not convenient, rope may be used), one large cotton sheet, about thirty-six by nine feet, one mystic chair, one large tin basin, one K.M.C. spanker. Recorder should have ready prepared his burlesque resignation; Guard should have a note prepared for Commander, which he should hand him at proper time.
COMMANDER: The officers will assume their stations. If any are present who are not qualified to sit with us in the Degree of Chivalry, they will please retire. Marshal, you will satisfy yourself that all present are chosen Chivalrous Sir Knights.
MARSHAL, after examining Sir Knights, retires to Degree of Chivalry, and says: Your instructions have been obeyed, and I am satisfied that all present are qualified to remain with us.
COMMANDER: Vice Commander, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry?
VICE-COMMANDER, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Chaplain, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry?
CHAPLAIN, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Guard, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry?
GUARD, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: I do then declare this Degree Lodge open for the degree of Chivalry; let us direct our deliberations with brotherly dignity, and with due regard for our fraternal obligations. One rap.
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will retire to the anteroom, receive and introduce the candidate.
Marshal salutes Commander, retires, and, when ready to enter with candidate, approaches inner door, and gives ... raps.
GUARD: Vice-Commander, there is an alarm at the door.
VICE-COMMANDER: Attend to the alarm.
GUARD, raising wicket: Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate now seeks to advance.
GUARD, leaving wicket open: Vice-Commander, a candidate now seeks to advance.
VICE COMMANDER: A commendable desire, indeed. Admit him.
Marshal and Aide enter with candidate blindfolded: candidate being dressed in an old dilapidated night-shirt, wearing a paper fool’s-cap, and a wooden shoe upon his left foot. They march around the hall twice and stop before Vice-Commander.
MARSHAL: Vice-Commander, I take pleasure in presenting a candidate who desires to become more fully acquainted with the secrets of this Order.
VICE-COMMANDER: Is it your sincere desire to become further wrought into the membership of our order?
VICE-COMMANDER: This order conforms to law, religion, friendship, kindness, mercy and charity. We demand from our members, whom we style Knights, the most exact compliance with our obligation. Here honor lives and asserts her sway. I would impress upon you the importance of building up a good character. I command you to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly in the sight of God.
Let me admonish you never to complain of your employment or your hardships. Realize that life’s battle is real; that in your individual case all depends upon acting your part well.
“You should then he up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.”
Marshal, you will now conduct the candidate to our Chaplain.
Marshal and candidate march around the hall three times, stopping before Chaplain.
CHAPLAIN: Be an honest man; let your deeds attest that you are such. There are knaves and thieves of many kinds on the road of life. Watch yourself and see that you do not fall into their hands. Ever be mindful of the rights of others; hold in sacred esteem the welfare of your brother, and always forgive his faults and remember his virtues. Live an honest, sober and righteous life, so that no man shall ever have occasion to regret his association with you.
From close inspection, friend, I fear you have had troubles of your own; an accident, perchance, although our worthy medicus doth say some people are born that way.
Pointing at candidate’s foot.
MARSHAL: Nay, nay; he, like many others, had his leg pulled a few days since. Hence this deformity.
CHAPLAIN: How fortunate. Sit thee down, friend, on yonder stool, and, thanks to the K.M.C., thy misfortunes will be quickly remedied.
Candidate is seated upon a low stool, and a rope tied about the short foot.
CHAPLAIN: Marshal, after doing thy act of surgery, have this candidate taken to our Past Commander.
Marshal and aide drag candidate across hall to Past Commander. Care should be taken not to handle candidate roughly, or in any way hurt him.
PAST COMMANDER, as candidate is dragged before him: Marshal, why come you thus?
MARSHAL: I am bringing a candidate who has been instructed by the Vice-Commander. Our Chaplain, on imposing upon him the obligation of the order, noticed that one leg seemed longer than the other, and suggested the remedy of pulling the other leg. Marshal removes false foot. See, he now stands before you, his legs physically correct.
PAST COMMANDER: Friend, despise not this simple remedy. You are only exemplifying the story of Balaam, who rode through Jerusalem on his ass. Profit thou by his example. If your legs had not been restored to their original state by nature, you would have gone limping through life. Akin to the material is the moral constitution of man. If any of your mental or moral faculties are dwarfed, you must pass among your fellow-men as a mental or moral cripple, and cannot maintain that erect attitude and bearing to which every man of proper pride and lofty character aspires as the greatest boon of existence. Marshal, you will now journey on.
Marshal and candidate go slowly toward the Guard, who is standing near the Vice-Commander.
MARSHAL: Remember the words of our Past Commander. The road is now short but rough marching towards Guard’s station. Here is our Commander’s Guard.
GUARD: Stay ! What are your wants?
MARSHAL: I have a candidate whom I am taking to our Commander.
GUARD: What, at this late hour!
MARSHAL: Yes, he must see the Commander tonight.
GUARD: Well, hurry, hurry, if your friend is to see our Commander tonight. Take him by the straight ways.
Marshal now takes candidate before Vice-Commander, winding long rope around candidate, holding his hands down by his side. The candidate is now laid flat on a piece of loose carpet, which suns full length of ball (a stuffed collar of hair is put about candidate’s neck to protect nose; the collar is about six inches thick), the two Sir Knights each holding end of carpet. Commander taps gong four times.
GUARD: Hurry, hurry, or the door will be closed.
The two Sir Knights go on full run toward Commander, pulling the carpet, and candidate rolling over and over. Marshal and Aide have hurried around to receive candidate when he rolls up to the Commander.
Raising him to his feet.
COMMANDER: What is this disturbance at this late hour? Guides, what have you here?
MARSHAL: A friend who desires to complete his journey and become a Chivalrous Knight of the Mystic Chain, having taken his obligation and received instructions from the Vice-Commander and Past Commander, now comes to you to be instructed in the secret work of the Degree of Chivalry.
COMMANDER: It is well. Remove the blindfold. He has overcome many trials and tribulations. My friend, you look as if you had hurried somewhat on your journey. Pause. The experiences you have undergone may seem to you strange and uncalled for. Such is not the case, however, for through these experiences wholesome lessons have been taught you. In the days of chivalry a warrior could not gain his spurs until he had proved himself worthy to wear them. He must be brave and fearless, and must flinch not in the face of danger; he must scorn all deceit and guile, and he must know how to take a joke. In the tournaments of those old days many hard blows were given in play. You have been duly instructed in the cardinal virtues of Kindness, Mercy, Charity, and I need not further inculcate their importance upon you. But you must bear in mind that without diligence in business and unceasing endeavor you most likely will not have it in your power to exercise the benevolence required by these attributes. And even if the chance of inherited wealth should absolve you from the necessity of labor and the diligent pursuit of business, this is nevertheless imposed upon you by an inexorable law of human nature as the condition of happiness. A life of sloth and indolence is invariably attended with dreary inanition, discontent and unhappiness. Heed the story of the Abyssinian prince. Imprisoned in an earthly paradise, he was condemned to a life of inert luxury, which
brought only satiety and misery. Every want, every wish was supplied with a lavish profusion of all that could minister to the senses or please the palate. From the mountains on every side rivulets descended and filled with verdure the valley in which he was confined. The sides of the mountains were covered with trees; the banks of the brooks were diversified with flowers; every blast shook spices from the rocks, and every month dropped fruits upon the ground. On one part were flocks and herds feeding in the pastures; on another all the beasts of the chase frisking in the lawns. All the diversities of the world were brought together; the blessings of nature were collected, and the evils extracted and excluded. And yet in the midst of this prodigal supply of all that the imagination could conceive, or ingenuity and limitless wealth supply, the prince condemned to a life of indolence was a miserable creature. Kneel. Candidate kneels. Commander taking sword and lightly laying on candidate’s shoulder. I pronounce thee a Chivalrous Knight of the Mystic Chain. Arise, Chivalrous Knight.
GUARD: Commander, a note for you.
Guard takes note to Commander, who reads it.
COMMANDER: Knights, this note from a friend who is very ill, and whom I left to attend this meeting, states that I must now return to him. As you know, it is the Commander’s prerogative to fill the chair, and I shall leave our new member to conduct the remaining business of our meeting. Commander seats candidate in chair, saying: You must govern the Lodge in my absence. Knights, present your new Commander.
Commander and Knights walk in front of the chair and salute. All being seated.
RECORDER: Commander, I am sorry to have to read the following reads his own resignation.
VICE-COMMANDER: Commander, I beg the vacancy just created be filled at once. The office is the most important one in the Lodge. I therefore ask you to order a nomination.
CANDIDATE: Nominations for office of Recorder.
Here several ask the candidate to appoint them, and any witticisms coming to mind are indulged in at the candidate’s expense. General disorder prevails, and all Knights rush toward the chair. Marshal and Aide catch the candidate by legs and arms, lift him briskly out of chair (care should be taken not to hit candidate’s head against chair or otherwise hurt him), and place him on his back on the floor. A small mattress may be used on the floor to lay him on, or when lodges are sufficiently able, the Mystic Chain can be used effectively, which is a neat affair, so arranged that the legs are separated as soon as the candidate sits upon it. A stick should be provided with a stung near the top, placed directly under the chair, so that it will not separate until the proper time, which can be accomplished by jerking the stick out, after which you can proceed as above, and the chair assumes its original position, which is equally astonishing to the victim when he looks at it and finds it standing just as he last saw it. Upon candidate regaining his feet, the Aide goes to him, telling him to request the Commander to take the chair and close the degree, which candidate does.
COMMANDER, calling Lodge to order, leaving Guides and candidate standing before him: Friend, this lesson was intended to impress upon you how disastrous it is for anyone to assume an office unless thoroughly qualified to fill it. Let this experience always guide you. I will now instruct you in the secret work of this degree. In order to secure admission to the ante-room you must attract the attention of the Sentry. He will raise the wicket and you will then give him in a whisper the pass-word of this degree, which is .... He will admit you to the ante-room, and after properly attiring yourself you will approach the inner door and .... This will be answered by the Guard in the same way. You will then repeat this signal, when the wicket will be opened and the Guard will whisper “Who comes there?” You then give him in a whisper your name, and the name and number of your Lodge. The wicket is then dropped and the Guard communicates this to the Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct, orders him to receive the password and admit you. The Guard will then raise the wicket and .... The door is then opened, and you pass to the altar and salute the Commander thus: .... The Commander will answer by the same sign. You will then take your seat. This sign is given by all Knights on leaving or entering the Lodge hall while the Lodge is in session, and by all Knights when the Lodge is open in the Degree of Chivalry. You will please kneel on your right knee.
Commander laying sword lightly on right shoulder of candidate.
I pronounce thee a Chivalrous Knight of the Mystic Chain.
Replace blindfold.
I have three questions to ask you; and, as I ask them, you will signify your answer and submission thereto by a salaam, or bow, made by touching the head to the floor.
Two aides, one on each side, go through actions, to give candidate confidence.
COMMANDER: Do you promise to always temper your acts by kindness? Salaam.
A large pan of water, three inches deep, is now placed so that candidate will plunge his head in it when bowing the second time to the floor. Aide should he watching and gently press his head into the basin.
COMMANDER: Do you promise always to be merciful in your dealings with mankind? Salaam.
After candidate has dried himself and order been restored, he must kneel (hands and knees). Commander here gives one tap.
COMMANDER: Lastly, will you promise to carefully heed the cry of a brother Knight and be charitable in your dealings with your fellow-men?
CANDIDATE, prompted by aide: I will.
COMMANDER: Failure on your part means that something will drop.
The Marshal quickly and soundly lets the spanker drop.
COMMANDER, slowly: Just - like - that.
Arise, Chivalrous Sir Knight. Remove blindfold.
The Lodge will now take a recess to welcome the new Chivalrous Sir Knight.
MEMBERS, in chorus:  Welcome, Chivalrous Sir Knight!
COMMANDER (one rap): Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry, having concluded our deliberations, we will retire from our Degree Lodge, resolved to be benefited by the lessons learned. Let each and every one of us show by our conduct that we are true and upright, Chivalrous Knights. Marshal, you will take up the Rituals and deliver them at this station. Sir Knights of Chivalry, advance the sign of this degree. Commander will answer by the same sign. Now, by authority vested in me, I do declare this Degree Lodge closed until we shall meet again, and I bid you all an affectionate good-night.