How I was Made a Good Templar.
(From the Waimate Times.)
Air Editor, Sir, —According to promise, as made ■to the worthy' gentlemen who converted me to discipleship of the Temperance cause, I duly attended at the hall on Thursday night for initiation into the mysteries of Good Tcinplary, with the following result:—On presenting myself at the door I was conducted to the anteroom and left in charge of the doorkeeper, who eyed mo somewhat suspiciously, and refused any further conversation with me beyond telling me that I would have to wait. This I did, and after a certain amount of slating and singing had been carried on inside, one of the brethren came out of the lodge-room with a slip of paper in his hand, and, after a careful scrutiny of my person, assured me “I was the meanest.'‘specimen of. humanity that had ever been presented to him for renovation,” and that “ if I had been a week —a day even an hour later in coming it would have been his painful duty to have turned me away as hopeless. As it was there were a number of questions I would have to answer. If I did so to his satisfaction there might be hope for me yet. ” He then read off his paper—“Do you believe all publicans will go to perdition ?” I replied that “I sincerely hoped so, leastime all them that doctored their grog and charged a shilling for a pint of beer.”
Whereat he fell upon my neck and wept, assuring me that “ my heart was in the right place.” His next question was, “ What amount of ready cash have you about your person 1”
After carefully exploring all my pockets, I announced the sum of 12s. Gd., which seemed to be satisfactory, as he proceeded to explain to me that it was very expensive work rescuing such miserable wretches as myself from perdition, and that fees and dues were required from candidates and members to carry on the good work. The ordinary fee was 3s. Gd., but for such a hard case as mine he would be failing in his duty to the lodge if he accepted less than 10s., which sum I handed oyer to him, ruefully ruminating on the number of lovely pints it represented. He then left me in charge of the doorkeeper, who playfully poked me in the ribs and whispered, “ I knew they’d have you when they saw the greed. ”
A sister and brother called Marshal and Deputy then came out, and, taking me by the hand, one on each side* led me into the lodge-room ; as soon as we entered the door the following ode being struck up by all hands : The Templars are gath’ring around by the fire, We have’lifted them out qf the mud and the mire [ Though once they were swipers we saved them from beer, And behold them assembled to welcome you here.
On its conclusion, I was halted in front of the boss Templar, who told me I was welcome to their fraternal home, and that if I looked around me I would behold men who were once as bad, or nearly so, as myself. I did look round, and scanned the assemblage, but as first impressions are sometimes deceptive, I will not detail mine, but wait till my acquaintance assumes a more matured form before expressing my opinions.
The Boss then told me there was an obligation required of me, and I repeated after him as follows :—“ I promise to leave off drinking sho-oak, gin, whisky, and all other swipes, and to oppose all applications for new licenses by whomsoever made, thereby saving the torrid regions from over population in the shape of people whose fortunes have been made in the drink tradio, and to let the said people have a comfortable innings in this world in consideration of what they will have to endure in the next.”
He then told me there were signs and words whereby Templars knew each other, and these he would now explain to me. The first sign was to elevate the right hand to the level of your mouth, giving the little finger a quick upward cant as if a nobbier had been got outside of, and meant “ Will you have a drink?”
The answering sign was to place the fore-finger of your left hand on the side of your nose and the password was “ Not for Joe.”
He then took me by the hand and called me “Brother ” while all the members gathered around us, A considerable amount of whispering and disputing here took place amongst the great guns, and there seemed to he a hitch somewhere, which was explained by the Patriarch, who stated that as all the water had run out of their cistern they were unable to immerse me in the usual manner but “he thought the difficulty could be got over by : jugging ’ me.”
Of course I had no idea, what this meant but assured the genial old gentleman that “jugging was the principal inducement that had brought me forward, and that if I had thought there was te be no jugging I never would have come. ” •
On this he clapped me on the back and told me “ he was sure he was right, and that he always was right,” and inserting the forefinger of his right hand between my neck and shirt-collar bent my head forward with his left hand, while one of his supporters poured a jug of cold water down my back. Creation! but it did make me shiver. However, I was allowed no time to think
over it, as they all joined hands, forming a circle, with mo in the. centre, and commenced the following song of welcome : —- Welcome, welcome, Silly Willy, Welcome, welcome, Swiper Billy. We are glad to see you here, Safe from whisky and from beer. Having paid me this graceful tribute of respect, a recess was called, and an adjournment made to the coffee-room for refreshments.—l am, etc., Bill Stumps.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 210, 7 December 1880
How I was Made a Good Templar. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 210, 7 December 1880
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