This is an actual letter written by a Freemason to his son. Date uncertain, but it could not have been before 1952, as I found it tucked up in a copy of Darkness Visible which I found in a second hand bookshop.
Forget the Morgan Scandal! Forget the Taxil Hoax! Forget even that post going round the internet about the bloke who turned up to his 33rd degree initiation without his chequebook! This, my friends, gives the real deal on what Masonry is all about 😉
Thanks for your letter. Book enclosed as requested. Do not lend it out and let me have it back in reasonable time. Your Mum called for it recently but got bogged down and packed it in. Bit heavy going. It is something which does crop up from time to time – usually when I am going to bed. The theme is “There is nothing in life for us.” This accrues from her contacts with a few ladies whose hubbies belong to the “pinny brigade” and they huddle together and your Mum feels out of it and wonders what it is all about. She should have a good idea for we did go for quite a time to a Friday night dance run by these people and she got bored stiff in those days with the gossip and small talk. They do however cling together.
I should that that 50% of the men who do join are pushed into it in the first place by wives who hear glowing accounts of “ladies evenings” where each lady receives a nice little gift and they vie with each other in the way of new frocks etc etc.
It is something which doth count quite a lot and even in high places and your interest suggest that you may have come up against it. It has influence in all sorts of ways and I have no doubt that Birtell owes a lot to it – he is Secy for one Lodge. Rex Rigby owes his job to it and so do quite a few in the Town Hall and such places. In Scotland and – your Mum says – in Australia it is a working man’s cup of tea and reasonably cheap – like the Buffalos and Oddfellows but in England it can be quite expensive. A new lodge was formed a year or two ago and I understand it cost £50 to get in. It can be quite expensive if you intend to go “through the chairs” but many think it worth while for the sake of business. Quite a number of the younger end have joined here in the past year or two. They have been brought in by fathers to help fill up certain lodges which had got a bit thin. Usually they keep a body hanging fire for some time. Uncle Eric joined some two or three years ago. May have helped him keep his job – don’t know.Like any other organisation – there are those who join for what they can put into it and others for what they can get out of it and if one strikes a lodge where the latter outnumber the former it can be rough going. The Catenians and the Knights are the opposite number but they do not wield the same influences in big business. If Religion did not stand your way my advice would be – get in – as my Pop advised me many years ago – I could have made much more lolly.
We still have the frost. Bright sun to-day but freezing all the time. There is very little snow around here and we have been very fortunate when we see the telly.
We had a letter from David today – seems to be in good order and quite content with his lot.
He has probably other fish to fry than ringing you – he gets around you know.
- The whole letter was typed, except the final two lines which are hand written.
- Sic – “Secretary.”
- The allusion here is to the Catenians and the Knights of Saint Columba, two organisations for Roman Catholic professional men. Of these I have heard it said that “The Knights are Catholics playing at being gentlemen, and the Catenians are gentlemen playing at being Catholics!” NB: the man who said this was a Knight of Saint Columba, and was fairly merry after several pints at the time!
The implication would seem to be this letter was written by a Catholic father to his son. who is not so much concerned with the spiritual and theological ramifications of joining an organisation supposedly at variance with Holy Mother Church, as he is for missing out on a load of wonga.