Conductor (for candidate.)–I cannot.

Ruffian–Give me the secrets of a Master Mason! (Shakes candidate.)

Conductor–I shall not.

Ruffian–Give me the Master’s word, or I will take your life in a moment! (Gives candidate a sudden shake.)

Conductor–I will not!

Ruffian (i.e., S. W.) gives candidate a brush with his right hand across the left breast, and at the same time lets him pass, the conductor hurrying him on toward the east end of the Lodge, where the Master is stationed to perform the part of the Third Ruffian, Jubelum, who is generally provided with a buckskin bag stuffed with hair, to represent a setting-maul.

As the candidate is hurried along toward Jubelum (Worshipful Master), the latter seizes him with both hands by the collar of his coat, and swings him round, so as to place his back toward the east, with his heels a few inches from the edge of the canvas before alluded to. This canvas is usually held behind the candidate, in an inclined position, by some of the brethren, and is for the purpose of catching him when he is tripped up by the assumed ruffian, Jubelum. The Master (Third Ruffian) then exclaims:

W. M. (as Third Ruffian.)–Give me the secrets of a Master Mason!

Conductor (for candidate.)–I cannot!

Ruffian–Give me the secrets of a Master Mason, or I will take your life!

Conductor–I shall not!

Ruffian–You have (here Master seizes the candidate more fiercely, and affects a great earnestness of purpose) escaped “Jubela” and “Jubelo”; me you cannot escape; my name is “Jubelum!” What I purpose, that I perform. I hold in my hand an instrument of death; therefore, give me the Master’s word, or I will take your life in a moment!

Conductor–I will not!

Ruffian–Then die!

The Worshipful Master here gives the candidate a blow on his head with a buckskin bag, or setting-maul;1 at the same

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time, pushing him backward, brings the candidate’s heels against the edge of the canvas, trips him up, and the candidate falls upon his back, caught in the canvas clear of the floor, unharmed, but, in many instances, badly frightened.

Third Ruffian, Jubelum, Candidate. generally the W. M. in the east.

Members of the Lodge, in the act of holding the canvas to catch the candidate.

It is the general belief (and it would be readily inferred from most exposures of Masonry) that a candidate is knocked down with a large setting-maul kept for that purpose, but no reasonably sane person would for one moment entertain any such idea of the ceremony of making a Master Mason. The candidate is not intentionally injured in any Degree of Masonry, impressions of a lasting nature being all that are intended by the ceremonies.

As the candidate falls into the canvas the brethren lower it to the floor, when the following dialogue ensues between those who held the canvas and the Master, or the brother acting as the Third Ruffian.

Ruffian–Is he dead?

Answer–He is, his skull is broken in.

Ruffian–What horrid deed is this we have done?

Answer–We have murdered our Grand Master, Hiram Abiff,

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and have not obtained that which we have sought: this is no time for vain reflection–the question is, what shall we do with the body?

Answer–We will bury it in the rubbish of the Temple, until low twelve, and then we will meet and give it a decent burial.


They roll the canvas around and over the candidate where he fell, which is in the east or northeast corner of the Lodge, and, for a few moments, retire, when the Lodge becomes still as the hour of midnight; not a sound is permitted to be made; all go–if at all–from place to place on tiptoe. The Master silently steps to the east, near the candidate’s head, and strikes the hour of low twelve (which is twelve o’clock at night) on a triangle or bell. As the last sound of twelve dies away, the three ruffians cautiously approach the body, and converse among themselves nearly as follows:

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