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INDEX OF PAPERS
.
She Would Be a Mason.
James L. Laughton

THE funniest thing I ever heard,
The funniest thing that ever occurred,
Is the story of Mrs. Mehitable Byrde,
Who wanted to be a Mason.

Her husband, Tom Byrde, a Mason true,
As good a Mason as any of you;
He is tyler of Lodge Cerulean Blue,

And tyles and delivers the summons due,
And she wanted to be a Mason, too,
This ridiculous Mrs. Byrde.

She followed round, this inquisitive wife;
And nagged him and teased him half out of his life;
So to terminate this unhallowed strife,
He consented at last to admit her.

And first, to disguise her from bonnet and shoon.
This ridiculous lady agreed to put on
His breech — ah ! forgive me — I meant pantaloons ;
And miraculously did they fit her.

The lodge was at work on the Master's degree.
The light was ablaze on the letter G ;
High soared the pillars J and B.
The officers sat like Solomon, wise;
The brimstone burned amid horrible cries ;
The goat roamed wildly through the room ;
The candidate begged to let him go home ;
And the devil himself stood up at the east,
As broad as an alderman at a feast.
When in came Mrs. Byrde.

O horrible sounds, O horrible sight!
Can it be that Masons take delight
In spending thus the hours of night?
Ah, could their wives and daughters know
The unutterable things they say and do,
Their feminine hearts would burst with wo!

But this is not all my story.
Those Masons joined in a hideous ring,
The candidate howling like everything.
And thus in tones of death they sing

(The candidate's name was Morey) :
Trouble, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble ;
Blood to drink and bones to crack.
Skulls to smash and lives to take.
Hearts to crush and souls to burn ;
Give old Morey another turn!"

The brimstone gleamed in lurid flame,
Just like a place we will not name ;
Good angels, that inquiring came
From blissful courts, looked on with shame
And tearful melancholy.
Again they dance, but twice as bad,
They jump and sing like demons mad;

The tune is far from jolly!
Trouble, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble;
Blood to drink and bones to crack,
Skulls to smash and lives to take.
Hearts to crush and souls to bum;
Give old Morey another turn !"

Trembling with horror stood Mrs. Byrde,
Unable to speak a single word.
She staggered and fell in the nearest chair.
On the left of the Junior Warden there.
And scarcely noticed, so loud the groans,
That the chair was made of human bones.
Of human bones! On grinning skulls
That ghastly throne of horror rolls ;
Those skulls, the skulls that Morgan bore;
Those bones, the bones that Morgan wore.
His scalp across the top was flung.
His teeth around the arms were strung.
Never in all romance was known
Such uses made of human bone.

There came a pause — a pair of paws
Reached through the floor, up sliding"Kioors,
And grabbed the unhappy candidate !
How can I, without tears, relate
The lost and ruined Morey's fate?
She saw him sink in a fiery hole.
She heard him scream, "My soul ! My soul!"
While roars of fiendish laughter roll,

And drown the yells for mercy:
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble ;
Blood to drink and bones to crack.
Skulls to smash and lives to take,
Hearts to crush and souls to burn ;
Give old Morey another turn!"

The ridiculous woman could stand no more,
She fainted and fell on the checkered floor,
'Midst all the diabolical roar.
What then, you ask me, did befall
Mehitable Byrde ? Why, nothing at all —
She dreamed she had been in a Mason's hall.

Werner's readings and recitations, No. 43, Old time favorites. Edgar S. Werner (d. 1919), New York : E. S. Werner, 1908 [copyright 1891] 203pp.


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