Scene: The Unfinished Temple of King Solomon.
Time: Past High Twelve, as Grand Master Hiram is about to leave by way of the South Gate.
Ruffian: Grand Master Hiram! It is fortunate that I meet you at this time. Behold! The temple upon which I have laboured is almost complete, but I have not received the wages of a Master Mason, promised to me when my work is done. I, therefore, demand of you the secrets of a Master Mason.
Hiram: Craftsman, you have not yet completed your task. At the proper time...
Ruffian: Well, Grand Master Hiram, my girl-friend wants to go out on our night of labour in the Lodge. Masonry is not supposed to interfere with my personal life, right?
Hiram: I guess that’s true, Craftsman.
Ruffian: Observe! I hold an instrument of death. I can deplete the Masonic roll by walking if I have to wait around much longer. You won’t have much of a Lodge left.
Hiram: Oh, very well. Here are the secrets of a Master Mason.
Hiram communicates secrets.
Ruffian: There’s not much reason for me to hang around and work on this building any more. My girl-friend wants to go to the football game tonight. Farewell.
The Ruffian exits. Grand Master Hiram continues to the West Gate.
Ruffian 2: Grand Master Hiram! You agreed to give me the secrets of a Master Mason when the Temple was completed. I realise I haven’t done very much on it, but I’ve got other things going on. Work is really busy. I just don’t have time. This isn’t the 1990s, you know, when guys didn’t have to work as much as I do. But I’m young, so I’m the future of Masonry, you know. You need me. I hold an instrument of death. I will kill the Lodge by leaving it. So, give me the secrets of a Master Mason.
Hiram: But, you say you haven’t done much...
Ruffian 2: Yeah, I know what I promised when I joined. But, you know, stuff happens. And I’ve really been tied up. So, I’ve got my reasons. You said public and private avocations come first. Therefore, give me the secrets of a Master Mason.
Hiram: Oh, I suppose your intentions are good. Here are the secrets.
Hiram communicates secrets.
Ruffian 2: That’s all? I was hoping for a lot more than that. Later.
The Ruffian exits. Grand Master Hiram continues to the East Gate.
Ruffian 3: Grand Master Hiram! I have heard you cavilling with the other two. I not yet an Entered Apprentice, but I desire the secrets of a Master Mason you have given to them. And you know how life is today. I work a lot of hours, I have children at home, I have commitments to...
Hiram: Tell you what, my friend. We have a fast-track class coming up. No labour is required. Simply show up with your chequebook, block out a couple of hours, sit on the side and you will have the secrets of a Master Mason. You can do the labour after, if you’d like. I realise the young people of today...
Ruffian 3: Grand Master Hiram, I am ashamed of you. Would it be that you surrender the secrets of a Master Mason so easily? Should they not be earned? Should not every new Mason have a feeling of a sense of accomplishing a task? Is that not part of the analogy of labour that is outlined in Masonic ceremonies?
Ruffian 3: Is it not better for a young man to wait with patience and join a Masonic Lodge when the time is right instead of making excuses and pushing him through, just as the candidate for each degree is asked to wait with patience before entering for the ceremony?
Ruffian 3: And should not someone in the exalted position you hold be protecting such traditions, the very bedrock which attracts keenly interested new members, as it has for all ages?
Ruffian 3: If your secrets are so easy to obtain, then they are secrets I do not want. I shall retire by the West Gate, which is open wide to the new who are merely curious and the old who would favour shortcuts.
Ruffian 3: Grand Master Hiram, I do not hold an instrument of death. You do.
The Ruffian exits.