Ritual of the Grand and Noble Order of Button Busters
Second Degree - Journeyman
Preparation: Candidate is blindfolded, a banner (a pair of trousers) is
placed in his hands, which he is instructed to carry above his head. A whiskey
bottle, a deck of cards or some dice, poker chips, &c., is placed in his
pockets without his knowledge. A letter and reply similar to the following form
should be added:
My Dearest Darling …
Are you coming around any more, or are you trying to shake me. If you intend to give me the go by, you might just as well give it up, as I will make you come to time, and don’t you forget it. If you do not come around tonight I will land on you with both feet.
Your loving little tootsie wootsie, ….. (Localize to suit candidate’s peculiarities)
My Sweet Little Turtle Dove:
It will be impossible for me to come around tonight, as I expect to join the Grand and Noble Order of Button Busters. If I survive the ordeal I will certainly see you tomorrow night. Don’t be uneasy, for I am still
Your precious huckleberry,
….. (Sign candidate’s initials.)
Candidate’s coat may be replaced by a long linen duster, or any other wearing apparel that may seem appropriate may be used.
M. of C. conducts candidate to the inner door and gives ten raps thereon.
K. of I. D.: Who comes there?
M. of C.: The Master of Ceremonies of this lodge with a candidate who wishes further instruction into the mysteries of our Grand and Noble Order.
K. of I. D., addressing the King: Your Majesty, the Master of Ceremonies of this lodge is without with a candidate who desires further instructions.
King: Admit them.
M. of C. enters with candidate- and marches him rapidly around the room three times and halts before the station of the King, the organ meanwhile playing some lively tune.
M. of C.: Your Majesty, I present to you a candidate who wishes further instructions in our illustrious order.
King: The banner which you proudly carry is a noble emblem. It is a banner that a great many are proud to carry, although they do not carry it just as you do. There is enrolled under our banner a great army of men banded together for the uplifting of the right and the putting down of the wrong. Our object is to uplift and lighten the cares of humanity. Enrolled under our banner it will be your duty to aid in this great work always and everywhere. Master of Ceremonies, you will now uncover the candidate’s eyes that he may see and always remember the emblem of our order.
M. of C. removes bandage from candidate’s-eyes and relieves him of banner.
King: Master of Ceremonies, you will convey the candidate to the Lord Chancellor, that he may take the obligation of this rank.
M. of C., after conducting candidate to the station of the Lord Chancellor: Lord Chancellor, by order of the King, I present to you a candidate, that he may take the obligation of this rank.
L. C.: You will place both hands on your breast, and repeat after me. I solemnly promise never to keep the pass word of this grand and noble order but will repeat it to my friends. I also promise to pay the greatest respect and deference to the officers and members of this lodge, to tip my hat to them when I meet them and blacken their shoes and brush their clothes on demand, and also to lend them money on all occasions. For the faithful observance of this obligation I will give a deed of trust. You will now be seated.
A chair or stool is so arranged and covered that when the candidate takes his seat on it, it goes down and he sits on the floor. A stool or bench that comes apart in the middle may be used. An old tin pan may be turned upside down for him to drop on.
L. C.: Master of Ceremonies, you will now conduct the candidate to the Chief Justice, who will further examine into his fitness to become a member of our ignoble order.
M.of C., after conducting the candidate to the station of the Chief Justice: Your honor, by order of the Lord Chancellor, I present to you a candidate, that you may examine into his fitness to become a member of our monstrous order.
C. J.: Master of Ceremonies, you will search the candidate, to make sure that he has nothing of a criminating nature on his person.
M. of C. searches the candidate and reports what he finds, and reads letters previously placed in the candidate’s pockets.
C. J.: You seem to be a drunkard, a gambler and a trifler with the affections of women. Why is it that such discriminating and direct evidence of guilt is found upon you. Is there any way that you can prove your innocence? Will you now explain why you have these articles upon your person?
C. J.: While your excuses are plausible, yet they are not entirely convincing. To satisfy ourselves further of your innocence, we will have to make a test of your intelligence. We will now give you your choice of two tests; but first it will be necessary to ascertain whether you are of a literary or acrobatic turn. In choosing one of these tests I warn you to use great discretion and judgment, as on your decision depends whether or not you can get through our Grand and Noble Order. Which do you choose, the literary or acrobatic test?
C. J., then reads candidate lecture appropriate to his choice.
LITERRY LECTURE.: By your choice of a literary test you have shown a commendable disposition to acquire knowledge. It gives us great pleasure to welcome one of literary attainments into our order. As you voluntarily agree to this test, we will now proceed to ask you a few questions. Chief Justice then proceeds to ask candidate questions of a historical nature, or something that is impossible to answer from memory. The Chief Justice should prepare the questions in advance, and they should be of a nature as to get fun out of the candidate.
C. J.: You have certainly made an ignominious failure of this test. By your choice we supposed that you fully understood any test in this line that we might impose. We will now give you one more chance and see how you undergo the remaining test.
C. J.: Then proceeds to read the remaining test.
ACROBATIC’S TEST.: As you express your willingness to undergo this test, we will now proceed. Master of Ceremonies, test the candidate as to his acrobatic attainments.
M. of C. takes charge of candidate arid requires him to give a clog dance, go through a gun drill, put on roller skates, walk a rope, or any other performance of an acrobatic nature that may be desired. (This test can be made very interesting by a little preparation on the part of a resourceful Master of Ceremonies, who is given great latitude in regard to the nature of this part of the work.)
If candidate chooses Acrobatic test first, let Literary test come last.
C. J.: You have made another failure, and now the prospects are gloomy indeed for your acceptance by the Grand sand Noble Order of Button Busters. There is only one road left by which you can be admitted, and that is one of peril and difficulties. Master of Ceremonies, conduct the candidate to the Chief Apothecary, that he may examine into his physical endurance.
M. of C.: Chief Apothecary, I present to you the candidate, that you may inquire into his endurance.
C. A.: I will now test you. Hold both hands straight up over your head. Stand on one foot. Now jump as high as you can. Jump as far forward as you can. Now jump backward. Jump over this. A stick or something is presented for him to jump over. You will now kick as high as you can. Something is held up for him to kick at. Now stand on your toes. Bend backward as far as you can. Bend forward until the tips of your fingers touch the floor, and see if you can remain in that position five minutes.
M. of C. and Assistants take paddles, which should be kept concealed until used, and proceed to lay it on the candidate’s anatomy.
The Chief Apothecary can require the candidate to go through any other maneuvers that may be devised and that may be thought proper, such as rolling a barrel by standing on top on it, jumping rope, &c.
C. A.: Master of Ceremonies, present the candidate to the King, as I find that he has a fair constitution.
M. of C., after conducting candidate to the station of the King: Your Majesty, I present the candidate for the final test.
A box about three feet square is prepared in a dark corner of the room where the lights are turned down, as far as possible from the station of the King. There should be two pieces of cloth of some dark color spread entirely over the bottom of the box and up the sides. A bucket of broken glass, china, &c., mixed with dirt or something to keep it from rattling, should also be prepared.
King: Are you a man of steady nerve and discretion?
King: Are you a brave man, and do you consider yourself equal to any test we may impose?
King: Have you made your will?
King: Have you bid farewell to your friends? Is there any message you wish to send them?
King: We will now require you to go through a test that marks the line between discretion and valor, and will fully demonstrate the calibre of your nerve. Examine this lot of glass. Is shown bucket of glass, &c. It will be poured into yonder box. You will be required to jump in there with your shoes off, and take the chances of missing the sharp pieces. Master of Ceremonies arrange the test.
The Master of Ceremonies takes the candidate and bucket of glass, &c., over to the box, and pours the glass, &c., into box on to the top cloth. Then takes candidate back to station of King and seats him in a chair with his back to box, and requires him to take off his shoes. While he is removing his shoes an assistant quietly rolls up the glass in the top cloth and removes it from box, being very careful not to drop any. The Master of Ceremonies then places candidate on a table or something in a position to jump into the box.
Two boxes exactly alike can be used in this test instead of the cloths, and the boxes exchanged while the candidate’s back is turned.
M. of C.: The test is now ready.
King: I command you to immediately jump into the box.
King, if candidate does not jump: Put him in the box.
M. of C. and assistants then put the candidate in the box.
King: Master of Ceremonies, you will take the candidate to the ante room and let him ride in on the fiery steed of our order.
M. of C. blindfolds the candidate and takes him to the ante room, and then with the assistance of several deputies places him on a rail or some similar timber, carry him in, and after going around the room once or twice, halt at the station of the king, the organ playing lively music, appropriate to the occasion.
M. of C.: Your Majesty, we again present to you the candidate, mounted on the fiery steed of our order.
King: You will remove the bandage from die candidate’s eyes and let him down. Addressing candidate: You are now entitled to full admission into our Grand and Noble Order, with all its rights and privileges. We have sought to make a fool of you and have all the fun we could at your expense. But be consoled by the fact that you will soon have the opportunity of laughing heartily at others going through the same course of sprouts. If for awhile we can take our minds from the worries and cares of labor and everyday life, we feel we are well-paid for the ceremonies of tonight, and if we can brighten the road of life for only a short while we deem it time well spent. I now confer upon you the degree of Journeyman in the Grand and Noble Order of Button Busters. Master of Ceremonies, conduct our brother to a seat.
Note:: Anything may be left out of the work or anything added that may be thought proper.
The officers may wear any costume that is thought appropriate.