The Mother-Lodge

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

By: Rudyard Kipling


There was Rundle, Station Master,

An' Beazeley of the Rail,

An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,

An' Donkin' o' the Jail;

An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,

Our Master twice was 'e,

With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,

Old Framjee Eduljee.


Outside — "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"

Inside — "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.

We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,

An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!


We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,

An' Saul the Aden Jew,

An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman

Of the Survey Office too;

There was Babu Chuckerbutty,

An' Amir Singh the Sikh,

An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,

The Roman Catholick!


We 'adn't good regalia,

An' our Lodge was old an' bare,

But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,

An' we kep' 'em to a hair;

An' lookin' on it backwards

It often strikes me thus,

There ain't such things as infidels,

Excep', per'aps, it's us.


For monthly, after Labour,

We'd all sit down and smoke

(We dursn't give no banquits,

Lest a Brother's caste were broke),

An' man on man got talkin'

Religion an' the rest,

An' every man comparin'

Of the God 'e knew the best.


So man on man got talkin',

An' not a Brother stirred

Till mornin' waked the parrots

An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;

We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,

An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,

With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva

Changin' pickets in our 'ead.


Full oft on Guv'ment service

This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,

An' bore fraternal greetin's

To the Lodges east an' west,

Accordin' as commanded

From Kohat to Singapore,

But I wish that I might see them

In my Mother-Lodge once more!


I wish that I might see them,

My Brethren black an' brown,

With the trichies smellin' pleasant

An' the hog-darn passin' down;

An' the old khansamah snorin'

On the bottle-khana floor,

Like a Master in good standing

With my Mother-Lodge once more!


Outside — "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"

Inside — "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.

We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,

An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!




©2018 by Lodge Cape Town.