Old Wilsonians Lodge No 6602

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At the conclusion of the Ceremony of Consecration of the Old Wilsonians' Lodge several of the Brethren expressed their regret that no record had been kept of the proceedings at the Banquet. In the following notes an attempt has been made to supply such a record and to incorporate in it a report of events leading up to the consecration.

Wherever possible , speeches have been reported verbatim in order that the "atmosphere" of the proceedings should, as nearly as possible, be recaptured.

            Although the formation of the Masonic Lodge for Old Wilsonians' had been discussed many times in previous years the idea had never quite taken definite shape until just after the World War 1939/1945.

            During the War the activities of the Old Wilsonians' had almost entirely ceased, but in November, 1946 a General Meeting was held at the School, for the purpose of resuscitating the Association. At the close of this meeting two of the Old Boys, who had privately been discussing the possibility of forming an Old Wilsonians' Masonic Lodge, approached Mr Jerry S. Lee, Headmaster of the School and President of the OWA, whom they knew to be a Mason, and mentioned the subject to him.

            Some weeks later in February 1947, a Re-union Dinner was held at which the President mentioned the possibility of a Lodge being formed. As a result of this announcement, a notice appeared in the Old Wilsonians' Chronicle, as follows:-

 Masonic Lodge

The Headmaster would be glad to hear of Old Boys who

would like to be considered for admission to an Old

 Wilsonians Masonic Lodge if one is formed in the near

future. The information has been received so far

 suggests that there is a good prospect of this scheme

 going forward.

 

            The Headmaster received communication from some 25 Old Boys who desired to assist in Founding the Lodge and from twenty Old Boys who asked to be considered as Candidates for Initiation.

            Accordingly, meetings were held, records of which are contained in the Founders' Minute Book and an application was made to the Grand Secretary for permission to form a Lodge for Old Boys, Fathers of Old Boys and Masters and Governors of the School.

            V.W.Bro. White, the Grand Secretary, thereupon arranged to meet Bro. Jerry Lee, as Headmaster of the School and W.Bro. Cyril Maddison-Roberts, as suggested Master-Designate and, having discussed the project with the two Brethren, agreed to their taking to the Founders the necessary form of Petition.

            In the meantime some of the Founders had traveled abroad to such places as Belfast and even Queensland, Australia, and so the Petition Form had to be sent to the far-distant Brethren for their signatures. At least all the necessary signatures were obtained and the Petition was submitted to the Edward Alleyn Lodge No. 4328, the Lodge formed in connection wit the Old Boys of Alleyn's School, Dulwich, whose members had agreed to sponsor the Petition.

            On Friday, 27th November 1947 the Master and Wardens of the Edward Alleyn Lodge signed as sponsors in the presence of W.Bro. Cyril Maddison-Roberts and Bros. Jerry Lee, Ian Williams and Sidney Stevens, the proposed Master and Wardens-Designate and the Acting Secretary to the Founders of the proposed Old Wilsonians' Lodge.

            At the banquet following the meeting W.Bro. Tyson, D.C. of the Edward Alleyn Lodge, proposed the toast of " The Old Wilsonians' Lodge", mentioning the friendship between various members of his Lodge and Bro. Lee and also the strong ties which existed between the two schools especially during the War, when many Wilson's boys were "adopted" as temporary scholars of Alleyn's School.

            W.Bro. C. Maddison-Roberts replying to this toast, said:-

            It is  not, by any means, the first time in history that the names Alleyn and Wilson have been connected. We Wilsonians' may, I think, take some justifiable pride from the fact that when he was in the process of founding his College of God's Gift at Dulwich, Edward Alleyn, according to entries in his diary, spent a good deal of time in the company of his friend and spiritual advisor, Edward Wilson, Vicar of Camberwell, who, four years previously, had founded the School which is so dear to Old Wilsonians.

             Are we wrong in assuming that the experience which Vicar Wilson had gained when founding his establishment in 1615 was not without influence on his parishioner, performing a similar task in 1619?   Is it merely a coincidence that the Rev. Samuel Wilson, a kinsman of our Founder, was appointed by Edward Alleyn as the first Preacher and Fellow of the College?  Anyway, we know for a fact that, as Edward Wilson lay on his deathbed, the kindly Mrs Alleyn travelled from Dulwich and Edward Alleyn himself called on his way from London to enquire after their old friend.

             The connection between the Schools did not end with the passing of the Founders, for in 1644 a House of Commons Committee appointed one Edmund Coleby to be the Schoolmaster at Dulwich, while his kinsman, Jas. Coleby was elected Master of Wilson's.  A few years later J.Bradfield Headmaster at Dulwich fell in love with the daughter of the then Vicar of Camberwell, and to be near to her, resigned his position at Dulwich and was elected Master at Wilson's and married the lady of his choice.

             So close has the connection between the schools become by the middle of the Victorian era that when the College was proposing to establish a new School from the old Lower School, the Charity Commissioners actually approved a scheme to combine the resources of the two foundations and build one large new school on the site now occupied by Wilson's.  The scheme was dropped, however, and each School went it's own way, the new, revived Wilsons coming into being just four years earlier than Alleyn's School, just as  the original Wilson's had ante-dated Alleyns original College by the same period.

             It is not surprising, therefore, that when the OLD WILSONIANS ASSOCIATION found in its heart that it was prepared to be made a Mason, it should apply to its age-old friend for assistance in this matter.

             Worshipful Master and Brethren of Edward Alleyn Lodge, we Old Wilsonians thank you for your great kindness to us today and we trust that the connection between Alleyn and Wilson, that has existed for nearly three and a half centuries, may continue from generation to generation until time, with us, shall be no more"

             Within  a few minutes of its being sponsored the petition form was delivered  to the Grand Secretary's Office in order that it might be considered at the quarterly meeting of the Grand Master's Council held on the following Wednesday.  A few days later, the Grand Secretary summoned the Master Designate and W. Bro. Stelling, who was to be the Lodge Secretary, to Freemasons Hall and arranged that the Lodge should be consecrated by the Right Worshipful the Assistant Grand Master on Friday 30th January 1948.

             On the appointed day the Founders gathered in Lodge Room No. 9 at Freemasons Hall at 2 o'clock and were rehearsed in the Consecration ceremonial duties by W. Bro. S. Kingsley Tubbe, Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.

             At three o'clock, the Founders and Visitors being assembled, the Consecrating Officer, R.W. Bro. Brig. Gen. W.H.V. Darell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., A.G.M. entered the Temple escorted by several Grand Lodge Officers.  On taking the Chair the Consecrating Officer requested :-

            V.W.Bro. Thomas Aubertin,  Grand Treasurer to act as Senior Warden.

            W.Bro. Instr. Rear Admiral Sir Arthur Hall, K.B.E., C.B., P.G.D., to act as J.W.

            W.Bro. Rev. C.H. Mosse, M.A., P.A.G., Chaplain, to act as Chaplain.

            V.W.Bro. Sydeny A. White, M.V.O., to take his place as Grand Secretary.

            W.Bro. S. Kingsley Tubbs, D.G.D.C. to act as Director of Ceremonies.

            W.Bro. G.F. Sanger, A.G.D.C. to act as I.G.

and the ceremony of Consecration proceeded in due form as recorded in the Lodge Minutes.

             In the course of the Ceremony the Chaplain delivered the following Oration :-

 The Oration

             Our lives have many roots, some small and thin, others great and deep.  For many of us one of the deepest and strongest of the roots which have helped most in the foundation of our characters, is the experience of our schooldays.  The Founders of this Lodge have had the privilege of spending those days in an ancient and historic foundation.  At a time when our national life was in a period of great expansion, when English literature was at its best and when the spirit of adventure was new and vigorous, Edward Wilson founded his School in Camberwell.

             I have no doubt that those of you who can claim the proud title of OLD WILSONIAN have much to be thankful for as you look back upon your schooldays.  The memory of those days and their events forms a strong tie which binds you to one another; because although your lives are now lived in many varying ways and you each have many different roots through which your life is fed, there is one root in the life of each of you which goes back to the end of the 16th Century and through which your own life has been nourished from ground which is common to all the children of Edward Wilson.

             But what is true of the tie which binds each of you to Wilson's Grammar School is true also for the common bond of Freemasonry.  Here indeed is a root of men's lives which is great and strong.  And it is our duty this afternoon to consider what it is which gives this root its vital power to lift men's lives to the practice of high ideals and to bind us together in brotherhood possessed of so much that is of benefit to Mankind.  I suggest to you that the chief source of strength for our Masonic life is indicated in some words of that Exhortation and Charge which is the Focal Point; the Climax of the 3rd Degree.  When we have been reminded of the prospect of futurity, of a state of life yet to come, we are told to CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF NATURE WHICH BEARS WITNESS THAT EVEN IN THIS PERISHABLE FRAME RESIDES A VITAL AND IMMORTAL PRINCIPLE WHICH INSPIRES A HOLY CONFIDENCE THAT THE LORD OF LIFE WILL ENABLE US TO TRAMPLE THE KING OF TERRORS BENEATH OUR FEET.

             This vital and immortal principle which is inherent in every human being is the ability to do right, and "masonically", our attention was first drawn to this principle when, as Initiates, we were told to stand perfectly erect, our feet formed in a square, our bodies being thus the emblem of our minds and our feet of the rectitude of our actions.

             We are living in days when it is becoming increasingly difficult to do right and the temptations to deviate from perfect correctness of behaviour are almost overwhelmingly strong. Yet moral integrity will never cease to be the sole means of gaining future happiness. High principles, true and right ideals, are set before us in our ritual because they are the only means of maintaining the dignity of man. As members  of our Ancient and honourable Institution , a responsibility is laid upon us to uphold these standards in the face of hostile conditions; a responsibility which is commensurate with the greatness of the need for doing so in these days.

             There has recently been a great increase in the numbers of our Lodges, for which we can be truly thankful, since it means that more and more just and upright men of sound judgement and strict morals are being brought in to strengthen this great Fraternity and assist it  by their witness to the principles and tenets of our craft. There is no doubt I our minds that the members of this lodge, which is now about to be consecrated, will maintain and uphold the honourable traditions of the Order and bear effective witness to its power for good in the world today."

             At the conclusion of the Consecration Ceremony W.Bro. Cyril Maddison-Roberts was Installed as the First Master of the Lodge by the Right Worshipful the Assistant Grand Master, and then proceeded to invest the acting IPM, the Wardens Designate, the Treasurer and to appoint and invest the other Officers. The addresses to the Master, Wardens and Brethren were delightfully delivered by the V.W.Bro. Sydney A.White, M.V.O., Grand Secretary, W.Bro. Instr. Rear Admiral Sir Arthur Hall, K.B.E., C.B., P.G.D., and V.W.Bro. Thomas Aubertin, Grand Treasurer, respectively.

            The Consecrating Officers were elected as Honorary Members of the Lodge and eight Old Wilsonians' had been proposed for Initiation after which the Lodge was closed in perfect harmony.

            A company of the Brethren about one hundred strong was then assembled in the Cambria Suite of the Connaught Rooms, taking their places in accordance with the illustrated plan delightfully executed by the J.W. Bro. R. I. Williams, which is kept among the Lodge records.  Then followed a Banquet served in accordance with the existing regulations of the Ministry of Food.

 The Brethren joined together in singing the musical Grace, after which the Master rose to propose 1. The King and the Craft, and 2. The Most Worshipful Master, His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, K.G., both of which were received Loyally and heartily.

             The Master then proposed the toast of The Deputy Grand Master, Assistant Grand Master and the other Officers of the UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND, PRESENT AND PAST, coupled with the name of V.W. Bro. Thomas Aubertin, Grand Treasurer.

             In proposing this toast the Master alluded to the fact that "in 1786 the Ancient Grand Lodge marched in procession from Newington to Camberwell, attended Divine Service at the Parish Church of St. Giles, immediately adjacent to Wilson's School and afterwards dined together at Grove House, Camberwell, with Masonic toasts in usual form".

             "I do not suppose" he said "that we shall ever be privileged to entertain the Grand Lodge en masse as did our ancient brethren of that time, but I do want to assure the Grand Officers, present and past that if ever they find it possible , individually or collectively, to make the journey to Camberwell and join our assemblies, they will receive a welcome just as warm as that accorded to their forebears by our Ancient Brethren, even if the entertainment they receive may be somewhat more austere than was the practice in those former days."

             V.W. Bro Aubertin said that he found himself rather at a loss in replying in the presence of the Assistant Grand Master to a toast in which the eminent Mason was expressly named, while he (The Grand Treasurer) was only one of a crowd.  There was, however, one aspect of the Grand Lodge which he, personally could mention with some authority, namely, Finance, since he had recently been preparing the Accounts for presentation to Grand Lodge.

               "In fact" said V.W. Bro. Aubertin "I think I can give you some information which is not yet generally known, the affairs of Grand Lodge are in a satisfactory state" (laughter)

 Then he added as an after thought "subject to audit". (more laughter)

             "W. Master and Brethren" he concluded "on behalf of the Grand Officers I thank you and wish you in this Old Wilsonians Lodge every success."

             The Toast of the Consecrating Officers was then proposed by the W.Master, who pointed out the Chief Consecrating Officer held a position which, in the annals of the Grand Lodge of England, was quite unique, since he was the first and only Assistant Grand Master that Grand Lodge had ever had.

             "Those who have seen him preside at Grand Lodge " he said, "Know with what dignity and charm he upholds that high position, and it is not only in masonry that he has risen to eminence by merit"

             "In time of war the idol of the British Nation is the fighting man. Well, as a gallant soldier Brig. Gen. Darell has indeed served his King and Country well, as is shown by the many orders and decorations which His Majesty has been pleased to confer upon him.

             "In peace, the admiration of the people of this country is turned towards the giants of the sporting world, here, indeed, the name of Darell is one to conjure with.  Some of my friends never tire of telling me that I have little enough to recommend me personally, but I do make one claim to fame if only of a reflected kind.  I was born in a year which in sport is looked upon as a vintage year... the year when W.H.V. Darell won the diamond sculls.  We Old Wilsonians are proud to be associated with such a distinguished man and mason.

             "We are proud, too, and I think our Assistant Grand Master must be proud of the eminent brethren who have assisted him in what we hope may come to be thought of as this great and glorious undertaking.  They are indeed a very efficient team, or, since there are so many 'wet bobs' among them, should I say, a very able crew?

             "The Oration by the Chaplain will inspire us in our Masonic work for a long time to come.  We shall not readily forget that oration.  Neither shall we readily forget the addresses so delightfully rendered by the Grand Secretary and the Wardens.  I thought the idea of selecting a Director of Education to address the Headmaster of a School as Warden of a School Lodge was a particularly happy one.

             "The whole ceremony was, in fact, delightful and not least responsible for its being so was the Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (loud applause) with his ever watchful eye and his ever ready hand and tongue.

             "But, if I may be allowed to say so, the Piece de Resistance, in my opinion, lay in the paradox in connection with the appointment of the Inner Guard; a most ingenious paradox, for we had today the Director of a famous News Reel Company keeping from our Consecration Ceremony the eyes and ears of the world."

             The Acting Inner Guard was W. Bro. Sanger, A.G.D.C., (a Director of British Movietone News Ltd)

             "All these things you have seen and heard and must have admired for yourselves, but there is an aspect of our Consecration Ceremony to which I must refer, for although it is not so apparent, yet nevertheless it has played a tremendous part in the success of this afternoon's proceedings.

             "We Founders cannot be too grateful for the great help, the kindness and consideration which have been shown to us all, and, may I say, to the master in particular, not only this afternoon but in all arrangements leading up to it, by Bro. Kingsley Tubbs, D.G.D.C., and perhaps even more particularly by V.Wor. Bro Sydney White, the Grand Secretary. (loud applause).

             "Long may English Masonry enjoy the valuable services of these eminent Masonic stalwarts, giving instruction and assistance to the brethren of our Craft".

             The R.W. The Assistant Grand Master, Brig. Gen. W.H.V. Darell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., replied in an amusing speech in which he referred to the original Charter granted in 1615 by James I to Edward Wilson, Vicar of Camberwell to found a Grammar School for the education of the Children of his parish.  He quoted, amid much laughter, some of the Regulations drawn up by the Founder of the School, such as :-

             THE HEADMASTER SHALL BE SOUND IN RELIGION, BODY AND MIND, GENTLE, SOBER, HONEST, VIRTUOUS, DISCREET AND APPROVED FOR A GOOD FACILITY IN TEACHING.  HE SHALL BE A MAN OF WISE, SOCIABLE AND LOVING DISPOSITION, NOT HASTY AND FURIOUS NOR OF EVIL EXAMPLE.  SUCH AN ONE AS CAN DISCERN THE NATURE AND DISPOSITION OF EVERY CHILD (IF SUCH AN ONE MAY BE GOTTEN).  HE SHALL NOT KEEP ANY HOUSE OF VICTUALLING OR GAMING NOT FREQUENT ILL HOUSES.

             THE SCHOLARS SHALL BE PROVIDED WITH A LITTLE BIBLE, PSALM BOOK, PAPER, PENS, INK, SATCHELS, AND CANDLES IN WINTER.

             THE MAIN SUBJECTS TAUGHT WERE TO BE LATIN AND GREEK AND THE GAMES, WRESTLING, LEAPING, RUNNING, CHESS AND SHOOTING WITH THE LONG BOW.

             "Your Lodge" said Brig. Darell, "though only just commencing its life today, has all the advantages of ancient and splendid traditions.

             "We, at Grand Lodge, are delighted to see that neither of the wardens has been through the Chair and that the Founders have stressed their intention of encouraging young masons to advance in the Craft.  We Consecrating Officers are proud to be associated with such a Lodge, and we look forward confidently to its great success."    

            W.Bro. F.L. Ellen, L.G.R., P.P.G.W., (Berks) the Acting I.P.M. then rose to propose the toast of the W.M.

                        "No words of mine" he said "are needed to recommend our W.M. to you. Having seen his work in the Lodge today, I Know you will all readily receive the toast which I now give you".

             The W.M. in his reply said :-

             "Some years ago there was a small boy at Wilson's who, on one occasion, because of some misdemeanour, was set the painful task of committing to memory a passage from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.  That small boy stands before you now, and he sees around him the familiar faces of his Schoolfellows, and in particular as he sees sitting in the West, in the Seat of Shiva, the Destroyer, the Tyrant, who was responsible for his having to learn that passage, certain words from it come back to his mind with startling clarity:-

             Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.

             "Never, by any stretch of imagination could I be included in either the first or the second of those categories, but I do feel that today, at least to some extent, greatness has been thrust upon me.  For I find myself as the chosen representative of the Founders replying to the first Toast of the W.M. in the Old Wilsonians Lodge.  In that capacity it was my great privilege this afternoon to receive from the hands of our Chief Consecrating Officer the Charter from the M.W. the G.M. enabling us to hold this Lodge, which for some time has been the subject of our dreams and desires, just as years ago, Edward Wilson received from his Sovereign Lord King James the Charter enabling him to establish the School which for so long had been the subject of his dreams and desires.  May the results of our labours be as satisfactory as have been the results of his.

             "What's well begun is half done" said the ancients, "and as I think, we are all agreed, that a good beginning has been made today, it would seem that we are already some way on the road to success.

             "There are many points in our favour, not least of which is the fact that we are to hold our meetings in Wilson's School itself.

             "I have often felt that when I was about to be passed to the degree of F.C. and was asked the question, 'Where were you first prepared to be made a Mason'? it would not have been altogether surprising if, spontaneously, I had replied 'In my School'.  For the principles and tenets of Freemasonry have been taught, albeit under another guise, in Wilson's School from generation to generation, so the very atmosphere of the premises in which we shall meet will be charged with a strong influence for good.

             "Members of other Old School Lodges have told me that they envy us this great advantage.  They envy us, too, the fact that we shall have as one of our first Principal Officers, our Headmaster, who will be such a splendid link between the various generations of Old Boys.  Think, too, what a delightful and comforting thing it will be for our candidates when they find themselves being prepared by so popular and familiar figure as Bro. Burton, the School Porter. Whom we were so glad to elect as Tyler this afternoon.

             "Truly ours is to be a Lodge of definite personality, and its personality will be further enhanced by the furniture, working tools and the like, which have been fashioned and prepared with such care and such craftsmanship by the Founders themselves.

             "I confess I did not realise when first it was suggested that I should be Charter Master of this Lodge, that I should find myself presiding over a Lodge of operative as well as speculative masons, but it has most certainly proved to be so.

             "Thus we shall have the advantage of premises, of personality and of paraphernalia.  Surely with all these advantages we ought to make a success of it - but the final result will depend upon the members of the Lodge themselves, in their attitude towards one another and to the rest of the world.

             "Brethren, I hope I may not be considered presumptive if, to conclude, I quote you another passage we learned in our School Days, words by Robert Louis Stevenson, which, I think, express beautifully the principles of conduct which would ensure for our Lodge the success it deserves:-

             Grant us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere.  Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind.  Spare to us our friends; soften to us our enemies.  Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours, and, if it may not, give us the strength to withstand that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.

             The Toast of "The Visitors" was proposed by the Senior Warden, Bro. Jerry.S. Lee, The Headmaster of the School, who said:-

             "We offer to our Visitors a very hearty welcome and we hope that they have enjoyed the beautiful and impressive way in which the Consecration Ceremony was conducted.  It would be quite impossible to refer individually to all the visiting Brethren, but we esteem it a privilege to have among our guests this evening representatives of the Board of Governors of the School.  They have our grateful thanks for granting our Lodge permission to hold its meetings in the School premises.  Our Founders are delighted that the place which they have held in such affection since their boyhood days is now available for them for instruction and improvement in Freemasonry.

             "We are extremely fortunate in having a Worshipful Master Primus who combines enthusiasm with efficiency in everything he undertakes and we have a body of Officers who will strive to emulate his inspiring example.

             "We believe that the great enterprise launched today will bring lasting benefit to Freemasonry, to the Old Wilsonians Association and to the School.

             "We are very grateful to the Edward Alleyn Lodge which sponsored our petition and we much regret that the date fixed for our Consecration has clashed with their Installation Meeting, but although they cannot be included among our guests at this gathering they have sent us their best wishes and we offer them our sincere thanks.

             "On this occasion there are so many guests whose voices we would have liked to have heard, but as the limited time will not permit more than one speaker, I couple with this toast the name of W.Bro. L.H. Powell, P.M. of Gallery Lodge No. 1928 and Secretary of Heritage Lodge in which our W. Master was initiated.  W.Bro. Powell was formerly a member of the Parliamentary staff of The Times and now holds the important position of Press Secretary to the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom.  I am sure we shall listen to his reply with great interest"

             W.Bro. Powell, P.M. replied in the following terms:-

             "The perfect host is the man who does everything he possibly can to make his guests feel at home..... even when he wishes they were.

             "Without any qualification whatever, W.M., your guests tonight unhesitatingly acclaim you, your Wardens and your Lodge as perfect hosts.  It follows, almost as a natural corollary, that the perfect guest is he who stays as short a time as  ordinary politeness allows; says 'Thank you' and goes.  But the worst fears of the pessimists present are about to be realised.... I am not the perfect guest.

             "Indeed it would be ungracious and ungrateful if, speaking as I do on behalf of a large and distinguished gathering of guests, I did not spend a moment or two in thanking you for the opportunity you have given us of seeing a Ceremony of fragrant beauty carried out with precision and dignity; and on a lower plane, for all you have done to bring warmth and comfort into our somewhat dull and austere lives.

             "Now, W.M., there are several things about a Grand Lodge Officer which I envy.  One is the beauty of his adornment .... for Grand Lodge Officers are truly magnificent creatures!  A second is the strength of his convictions... even when you know he is wrong.  A third is the air of ineffable wisdom which seems to surround him.  Indeed, in my Mother Lodge, the Gallery Lodge, we had a dear old Grand Officer, who was for many years the political correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, of whom it used to be said in the lobbies of the House of Commons that no one could possibly be as wise as he looked!

             "Incidentally, with reference to the Gallery Lodge, I feel pained at the thought that in a by-gone age the pupils at Wilson's School should have looked upon merely as a sport what we as journalists regard as a very serious pursuit....'shooting or drawing the long bow.

             "But there is another attribute of the Grand Officer which I envy; and that is his ability to ignore the subject of his toast and go off at more tangents and cotangents than are ever thought of in trigonometry.  It is this characteristic which I propose, W. Master, with your permission..... or, indeed without it!.... to adopt for a few minutes.

             "I regard it as peculiarly appropriate that I should be here this evening.  I trust that will not be regarded as egotism, for egotism is only a case of mistaken nonentity. Mine, W.Master, was the first hand that grasped yours when you stepped over the threshold of Freemasonry.  It was I who guided you through the intricate windings of your first journey.  It was under my direction that you made your first advance to the Greatest of the Three Great Lights.

             "How well I recollect the occasion!  Your steps had, of necessity to be irregular. But there was nothing faltering about them.  With a bold, purposeful stride you pressed eagerly forward and, in spite of my restraining hand, ended with a resounding crash against the W. Master's pedestal.  To misquote Shakespeare, 'O, what a knock was that, my Brethren!'  It was early in the year, or the dying Caesar might well himself have rushed forth to see 'if Brutus so unkindly knocked or no'.  It was a symbolic knock.  We had released a new turbulence into Freemasonry on that 22nd of February 1937, and by a process of jet-propulsion you have been carried into the Chair of your Mother Lodge, Heritage, No.5572, and into the Chair of this Lodge in the same year.

             "You no longer need the restraining hand; he who was your guide and instructor is now, in another capacity, your faithful servant.  But you will find many anxious and eager to restrain you and you will know how to deal with them, for your own good sense and judgement will direct you.

             "And now I discard the assumed prerogative of a Grand Lodge Officer and direct myself to the toast.  It is my firm conviction that the Visitor plays a very important part in our Masonic structure and I never cease from dwelling on the fact when proposing and responding to this toast..... not, of course, simultaneously.

             "The Visitors keep Officers and Brethren of a Lodge, particularly the Officers, "on their toes".  Their presence stimulates and encourages; while what they observe to be praiseworthy they can carefully imitate.

             "You may know a Lodge by the visitors it invites; you may judge a visitor by the Lodge to which he is invited.  The Old Wilsonians Lodge has, of course, yet to establish its traditions but it is fortunate in having links with the past which are a guarantee, if one were needed, that the visitors who come to it will conform to a high standard.

             "W.Master, this Leap-Year, when the opposite sex is permitted, by custom, to exercise a privilege denied to them in other years.  May I, on behalf of all your visitors, express the wish that this year, and in all the years to come, Dame Fortune will smile on your Lodge."

             After an interval for informal chats and renewals of old friendships among the Brethren the proceedings were closed by Bro. Burton who proposed the Tyler's Toast.

 

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