Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fraternal Societies in the 1800s

The 19th century was an active time when it came to fraternal societies, those clubs which incorporated men's night out with social activism and a large dose of all the arcane ritual of boys who are allowed in the tree house. Being in a family with dedicated Freemasons, I am often reminded of Tom Sawyer, who could never do anything without incorporating a framework of symbolic meaning, incantations, and literary inspiration. Fraternal societies have dwindled in number and membership over the last century, as modern entertainment and demands on free time have rendered them almost obsolete. My aged dad belongs to a rural lodge that meets on or before the full moon of every month. Musing about this, I asked him if there was any ritual significance connected with the lunar cycle, or was it just so that farmers using horses and wagons would have a bright moon to light their ways home. He laughed and said it was definitely the latter, and more practical, option. 

Dolly and Minerva return to the Currier home where the quadruple twins are beginning to give them an uneasy feeling.

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