The Proving of a Steward
Submitted by Brother Ike Ezeudugi (Lodge Westerford)
Originally publised in The Square and Compasses,
a newsletter for the Grand Lodge of South Africa
Q: How were you first prepared to be a Steward?
A: My coat sleeves, shirt sleeves and vest sleeves were rolled up, and a corkscrew thrust into my hand.
Q: What is a corkscrew?
A: An instrument fashioned like a winding staircase which ancient Brethren ascended to receive their beer.
Q: Where did they receive it?
A: In a convenient room below the chamber.
Q: How did they receive it?
A: In half tankards and tankards.
Q: Why in that peculiar manner?
A: In half tankards knowing the same could easily be replenished, or in tankards from the great reliance they placed in the mildness of the brew in those days.
Q: Name the two advertisements which hung at the porch-way or entrance.
A: That on the left was named "GUINNESS" and that on the right was named "FOSTERS".
Q: What are their separate and conjoined significations?
A: The former denotes "No 1" and the latter "XXXX", and when conjoined "INSTABILITY".
Q: What is beer?
A: A peculiar product of chemistry, veiled in mystery and illustrated by labels.
Q: How is it depicted?
A: By an ear of corn and a couple of hops placed by a barrel of water.
Q: How do you know yourself to be a Steward?
A: By repeated trials and sessions at the bar and the willingness of the Worshipful Master to release me early so as to be able to get to the bar before the other less fortunate Brethren.