Page images

upon earth — and I took him for a bailiff! but no matter. He don't know it, that’s one comfort; and if he did, such an angelical being would forgive it. But come, children, what are you all staring at P Why don't you huzza now, as you did afore, and whistle, and take hands, and dance round the table 2 Vent yourselves how you like — only don't quite pull the house lown—for we’ve got a Christmas Pudding at last!”

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

It shall all out !

“If it does, I’ll be chiselled !” cries a burly Mason, flourishing the very tool that gave rise to the verb.”

“Stop his mouth with mortar !” shouts a fellow of the association, called Free, perhaps from being associated with freeStone.

“Sew it up like a ferret's,” squeaks a Cross-Legged Knight, — in common parlance a Tailor.

“Pitch into him, like bricks,” roars an Apprentice, of the ancient Babylonian order of Builders.

“Give him a clod with your hod,” bellows an Irish Laborer in the Lodge of Harmony.

“Pitch him off the Mysterious Ladder!” puts in a member of the same masonry, renowned for making wooden tombStones.

“Throw the lime in his eyes!”

“Brain him with the mallet !”

“Stab him with the compasses 1"

“Square at him 1"

“Level him l’”

“Dig into him with the trowel !”

“Lay a first stone on him,” suggests a noble Grand Master, who has officiated at such a ceremony, and is as proud by the way of laying the stone — as if he had hatched the building.

“Split him 1" ejaculates a Grand Warden — of course a repeal one.

“Bite him 1" growls a Purple Badger. “Worry him 1" snarls a Blue ditto. “Let’s strangle him with our apron-strings ” “Or give him the sledge-hammer l’ puts in a Master Tyler, a descendant, of course, of the famous Wat. “Over the bridge with him —” cries a Grand Arch. “Into my barge I" shouts a Master of the Craft. “Hit him in the Temple !” says a Brother in Solomon's spectacles. “Hang him 1" screams one of the “Mystic Tie.” “Peek out his eyes — and reep up his sanguinary poitrine !” mutters a foreign member of the Eagle and Pelican. “Whip him with the Rod of Moses | * recommends a Jewish convertite. “Na, na; wi'the Triple Taws / " whispers a masonic ScotchIIlāIl. “Stone him l stone him of St. Stephen. “Pitch him down the ‘Winding Staircase”—” “And out of the House of Humanity beyond its Porch and Pillars l’” “Beyond the Pales of Society.” “And its “Geometrical Gate,’” says the masonic keeper of that Lodge, commonly called the Porter's.” “Kick him I Stick him | Bother him Smother him | Hit him Split him Throttle him Bottle him Pound him Confound him | Drat him I Go at him | Floor him Score him Scrag him Gag him Thrash him Smash him Walk into him Run him through ' " That’s plain English, at any rate. “Gouge him Tar and feather him Lynch him Bark him 1 Mark him Chaw him up ! Be worse than a bear to him, and lick him into no shape at all!”— That's American “Boke his bipe down his windbipel” — That's German. “Break him on one wheel ! Blow his head off at one blow ! A la lanterne !”—That's French. “Let him look through the little window of Saint Guillotine.” “Knout him l’” — That’s Russian. “Cow-hide him ; and let the flies blow his wounds !” — That’s Brazilian.

!” shrieks a member of the Lodge “Shackle him ; tackle him ; barrel him up, and overboard with him " " — That’s Portuguese. “Rack him . Thumb-screw him " " — That’s Spanish. “Put him into the iron boots.” — That's Scotch. “Poison him by instalments ("—That's Italian. “Kill him entirely; and twice over !” — That's Irish, of COU TS6. “Cut off his eyelids — boil him in oil—broil him on a gridiron — crucify him head downwards—drench him with melted lead — blow him away from a gun – starve him — roll him in a hogshead of cutlery — flay him alive — roast him at a slow fire — tear him in pieces by wild horses — give him a bed of steel — impale him — scalp him — bastinado him — cold press him — flog him — picket him — put him into solitary confinement—send him to the tread-mill — tie a tight-rope round his forehead—bake him in a brazen bull— throw him into a vault with adders and scorpions — cast him into the lion's den — bury him alive — keelhaul him — make him walk the plank | * [Merciful Heaven! IIow many personal inconveniences and bodily discomforts have human creatures invented for each other? What bitter draughts and cruel operations, as a setoff against the charitable prescriptions and benevolent inflictions of medicine and surgery !] “Choke him | Break his jawl Tear his tongue out with pincers Silence him with the poker | Stop his mouth with the tablecloth ! Gag him with a red-hot respirator l’” “Build him up in a wall!” — That should be the voice of a Mason, at any rate. But no matter; the Bag is my own, if the Cat is n’t. I was never sworn to secrecy; and so out it shall come, whoever gets clawed for it !

[ocr errors]

“MERCY on us!” ejaculates Fear, his lank locks stiffening into a hairbrush, or more like a hearth-broom, his knees knocking together, his jaws clattering like castanets, and shattering every word into broken English. “Would you really dare to disclose the Free-Mason's secret? Consider what an ancient body they are — as old as Adam and Eve — at least, when they wore aprons. And then such architects! some say they built the Pyramids, and Stonehenge, let alone Solomon's Temple.”

“Yes, as much as Mr. Pecksniff did l’”

“Hush pray hush; walls have ears, you know. For my part, if there 's any men I'm afraid of, it’s the Free-Masons. They certainly do know more than other people. For instance, there 's the toad in a hole — ”

“What, the batter-pudding?”

“No ; but a toad in the very middle of a block of stone or marble, where he has been for a thousand years, and as brisk as ever. How he got there, or lived so long without food, nobody knows, unless it's the Masons. Some think it’s their Secret.”

“Then I should like to know it, for it's the cheapest style of boarding and lodging in the world.”

“Hush | don't joke. There's perhaps a Brother listening. Who knows? They're very mysterious. Let's whisper. Did you ever read of the Secret Assassins and the Wehme Gericht 2'

“Yes, in ‘Anne of Gierstein.’”

“Humph! then you know what I mean. Come closer; still closer. There was a man, I’ve heard — an American — who blabbed the Secret, and was never seen or heard of afterwards. Never !”

“But that story was denied.”

“Well, it may have been, but I believe it. At any rate, if they don't take one's life, they can save or spare it. There was a story in the last “Freemason's Quarterly Review' — stop, here it is : —

“Many have probably heard of the French officer in the battle of Waterloo, who was so badly wounded that he was unable to keep up with his regiment; and in that situation was discovered by a Scotch Highlander of the British army; who, with his bloodstained weapon drawn, his teeth clenched, and his eyes flashing fire, put spurs to his horse, and galloped up to despatch him ; but just as he was on the point of striking the fatal blow, the officer gave a Masonic sign of distress — it was well understood by the Scotsman, whose giant arm was immediately unnerved, love and sym; were depicted in his countenance ; and, as he turned his orse to ride off, was heard to say, ‘The Lord bless and protect

[ocr errors]

thee, my Brother

« PreviousContinue »