The Queens of Avalon
The Queens of Avalon
THE VALUE OF THIS SORORITY
"And whether consciously or not, you must be, in many a heart, enthroned: there is no putting by that crown; Queens you must always be; Queens to your lovers; Queens to your Husbands and sons; Queens of higher mystery to the world beyond, which bows itself, and will forever bow, before the myrtle crown and the stainless sceptre of womanhood."
Ruskin: Of Queen's Gardens.
The Order of Queens of Avalon for girls is recommended for various needs of modern girl life. Wherever romance, purity and chivalry are needed for girls, there the Queens of Avalon should reign.
The Order seems to fill a place as an organization that adds the element of mystery and poetry to societies that are more simply organized, such as the King's Daughters, the Sunshine Society, and the missionary bands.
It is a useful antidote in many places to the unregulated high school and boarding school sorority.
Organized before the word "flapper" was invented, the Queens is distinctly an antidote to flapperism, an antidote so sensible, joyous, and good-humored that it is acceptable to even the most thoughtless lass who, usually innocently, affects boyish mannerisms or adopts a misunderstood and dangerous license of behavior.
The Queens is an organization for understanding and practising what is praiseworthy. No wisdom is more needed in our time than the knowledge of what is really praiseworthy. This is given infinitely better through fellowship, play and heroic biography than by didactics. Perhaps the highest function of woman in civilization is the act of praising aright. What woman has desired man has always made his quest, whether it were the head of John the Baptist or the sacrifices of a self-abnegating devotion.
When the girl ceases vigorous outdoor life, puts aside the more youthful instincts, and seems to be entering on a stage where the poetic and romantic things appeal to her--it is then the ripe time to bring her under the influences of the Christian chivalry of the Queens of Avalon. Or when the shortening of the days brings unfavorable weather outside, and the long evenings are spent in reading, her imagination needs to be stirred with wholesome and clear appeals to the better things. The tendencies are so one-sided toward the coarse and vulgar that there needs to be a stronger and more positive reaction toward a higher idealism.
The poetic beauty and imaginative qualities of the Order lend themselves readily and forcefully to the susceptible nature of the girl. It is constructive in ideals and growth, helping the girl through the stages when the foundations of the strongest and most lasting characteristics are being laid. Purity, loyalty, reverence, courtesy, and self-control are magnified, while the lesser vulgarities are shaded off as not worth the attention in the Court of Avalon. The Court gives more than mere pleasure, adds even what the home cannot give in the development of maid with maid, makes the Church come closer and takes the form of the "Church Mother" rather than just "the Church."
The plan has been in successful operation in about five hundred places since the year 1902. During these years it has been enriched by the experience of many wise workers. It is offered confidently today as an effective instrumentality in developing a romanceful, pure, home-loving, serviceful type of womanhood. As an organization it involves the re-living together by girls of the best days of romance in history. As an influence upon the individual girl its specific value is that it enables her to realize her girlish longings in a way that brings forth her best self-respect and retains both the poetry and the prose of daily living.
This book was written by the founder of the organization, with the helpful cooperation of the Reverend Dascomb Forbush, the national Lady of the Lake, Anna F. Bayley, Mrs. Marcus A. Rhodes, Eleanor Mildon and a special committee of Court Camelot, No. 378 Marlboro, Mass.
This sisterhood is sustained by the older and brother organization, the Knights of King Arthur. It has its own officers, however. The first National Board consists of the following:
William Byron Forbush.
Anna F. Bayley, National Lady of the Lake, Boston, Mass.
Mrs. Merle T. Barker, Taunton, Mass.
Eleanor M. Mildon, Marlboro, Mass.
Sarah Shaw, San Francisco.
Mrs. Marcus A. Rhodes, Taunton, Mass.
Mrs. D. D. Lardin, Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Mrs. Elton K. Bassett, Malden, Mass.
All business for the Order is conducted by Howell E. Estey, Executive Chancellor of the Knights of King Arthur, Lock Box, 169, Boston, Mass. Correspondence with local Courts is carried on by the National Lady of the Lake, Anna F. Bayley, 12 Rockville Park, Roxbury, Mass.
THE BASIS IN LEGEND
RUSKIN said--"I wish there were a true order of Chivalry instituted for our English youth, in which both boy and girl should receive, at a given age, their Knighthood and Ladyhood, by true title; attainable only by certain probation and trial both of character and accomplishment; and to be forfeited, on conviction, by their peers, of any dishonorable act. Such an institution would be entirely, and with all noble results, possible, in a nation which loved honor."
The Queens of Avalon, is an organization of girls, self-governing and private but not secret, found chiefly in churches. It is a dramatic and fraternal society which represents itself as the revival of the group of royal ladies who, in the Arthurian legends, lived on the magic island of Avalon, the land of flowers and fruit, of peace and purity, of wholesomeness and healing, and ministered to humanity with graciousness and beauty. It is the Kingdom of Ideal Womanhood.
The essentials for a local Court of the Order are a suitable adult leader, the approval of the church with which it is connected and by which it is controlled and the assurance of some measure of permanence and success. Though characteristic and unique methods are herein suggested, the working out of the Court is completely in the hands of its leader and the girls themselves.
It is in this light that the leader of the new Court wants to take her stand. Every Court should be undertaken with great thoughtfulness and no group should be organized that cannot be assured of careful, thoughtful and permanent leadership. The organization is primarily in the Church or Sunday school, a group under a competent leadership that feel that they want to secure the most from their associations and work together, an organization into which they are willing to enter without reserve in the fullest meaning of Christian chivalry.
The ages of enrollment, of course, vary. Courts have been started with girls of twelve and thirteen, while other Courts have placed the maximum age at twenty. However, the average age begins at fourteen. A good plan where needed is to organize a senior and junior Court, meeting separately; but jointly in monthly conclaves or social gatherings if desired.
THE LEGENDARY BASIS
The fact that Guinevere was not of heroic quality may easily cause us to forget the small but dainty company of Arthurian heroines: Enid and Lynette, Nicolete and Blanchefleur, the lily maid of Astolat, the ghostly sister of Percivale, and the enchanting Lady of the Lake.
The character of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, was so central in the Catholic Church that she tended to crowd out all other heroines. Even the woman-saints were all like her in type. So she may be regarded as the type-heroine of woman in the days of chivalry. Even the Protestant girls of today need not fear to imitate the one who was so gracious and blessed among women.
It is the supernatural figures in the Arthurian legend that are especially unique and entrancing.
Down from the casement over Arthur, smote
Flame-color, vert and azure, in three rays,
One falling upon each of the three fair queens
Who stood in silence near his throne, the friends
Of Arthur, gazing on him, tall, with bright
Sweet faces, who will help him at his need.
COMING OF ARTHUR. Tennyson.
These were the Queens of Avilion or Avalon, which was in Celtic mythology the land of the Blessed, of the kingdom of Souls, an earthly Paradise in the western seas. According to one derivation the name was from its location, in the old French, "ou le soleil avaloit." But the accepted etymology gives as the source the Welsh "aval," apple; thus the Isle of Apples, the only important and delicious fruit known to the northlanders. In the old legends this place is described as a fairy land of delight. An old monkish poet, called Pseudo-Guldas by some, says: "This memorable isle, destitute of nothing good, is surrounded by the ocean. There no thief, no plunderer, no enemy lies in ambush. Nor violence, nor summer heat, nor winter cold rages unbridled. Peace and concord, harvest and springtide abide always; nor are fruit and blossoms ever wanting. Ever its people dwell in virgin youth--no age, no sickness, no grief, all full of gladness. A maiden most fair rules the place and presides over its affairs, encompassed by fairest virgins."
Just such a place is described in the medieval legend of the voyage of St. Brandan. "They sailed westward until they came near an island which was large and fruitful and bore many apples. There were no herbs without blossoms, nor trees without fruits, and there were precious stones, and the island was traversed by a great river." It was known as the Promised Island of the Saints, and when persons returned from visiting it everyone knew where they had been by the perfume of their garments. Another island visited by the saint, or perhaps the same one, was called the Paradise of Birds. Said an old writer named Wynkyn de Worde in "The Golden Legend": "Soon after, as God would, they saw a fair island, full of flowers, herbs and trees, whereof they thanked God of his good grace; and anon they went on land, and when they had gone long in this, they found a full fayre well, and thereby stood a fair tree full of boughs, and on every bough sat a fayre bird, and they sat so thick on the tree that unneath any leaf of the tree might be seen. The number of them was so great, and they sang so merrilie, that it was an heavenlie noise to hear." It was explained to the good saint that these birds were among the angels who fell from heaven after the revolt of Lucifer, but because the tresspass of these had been little, "Our Lord hath set us here, out of all paine, in full great joy and mirthe, after his pleasing, here to serve him on this tree in the best manner we can."
This island was indeed a Celtic heaven, and in outline it resembles Camelot, in Tennyson's "Geraint," and the spiritual city of Sarras, to which Tennyson sends Galahad as king. A padifinal letter from the magician Merlin to the Celtic bard Taliesin describes it thus;
We came to that green and fertile island which each year is blessed with two autumns, two springs, two summers, two gatherings of fruit,--the land where pearls are found, where the flowers spring as you gather them--that isle of orchards called the 'Isle of the Blessed.'. . . There nine sisters, whose will is the only law, rule over those who go from us to them. The eldest excels in the art of healing, and exceeds her sisters in beauty. She knows the virtues of all the herbs in the meadow. She can change her form, and soar in the air like a bird; she can be where she pleases in a moment, and in a moment descend on our coasts from the clouds." There ends the great story of Arthur as, conveyed by the three queens in their black barge, they "who would help him as his need," he passes out into the great deep. And
"Then from the dawn it seem'd there came but faint
As if beyond the limit of the world,
Like the last echo born of a great cry,
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
Around a king returning from his wars."
According to some, Arthur reigns there, according to other he sleeps, and still others say they have seen his tomb, on which, however, is engraved: "Here lies Arthur, Once King and King To Be."
Thither, according to an early Celtic tale, went Olger the Dane, the Champion of France, after a lifetime of exploits. Among the bright spirits who had surrounded his cradle, one promising beauty, a second happiness, a third victory, had come last of all Morgan le Fay, who had foretold that after all his battles were won he should never die, but should be taken by her to Avalon. When it came time for the promise to be fulfilled he was borne by her from his ship to the island, where the Crown of Forgetfulness was put upon his forehead, and there he rested for over two hundred years. But when France was in peril the queen removed the crown and sent him back to save his country. And still the torch of his life rests in the Abbey of St. Faron, and when France needs him he will ride back, to be her Champion again.
But Avalon was not for the crowned conqueror only. According to the story in Layamon, the sword Excalibur was wrought there with magic craft, so that the island is the nursery of young princes as well as the heaven of battle-scarred veterans.
Avalon has been located at various places in the west upon sunken islands off the coasts of Wales and Cornwall. But it is easier to identify it with Glastonbury, which was once connected with Tintagel and the legendary scene of the last battle in the west by an arm of the Severn Sea. With this town is also associated the earliest Christian legend of England, that earliest story of the Arthur cycle in point of time, the coming of Joseph of Arimathea with the Holy Grail and the holy thorn, which he planted there on Wearyall Hill. Here the monks claimed to have found in one grave the bones of Arthur and Guinevere.
To one who climbs Wearyall Hill today or walks in the quiet enclosure of the Abbey or descends into the cool crypt of St. Joseph's Chapel, this low-rising mound in Wessex and its peaceful shrines seem the fitting locality for a fortress of rest and healing. And it is a beautiful thought that the place where Christian hymns were first sung in company with the Holy Grail in our Motherland should be the same place where its noblest Christian legend breathes out the soft cadence of its farewell with the passing of the King of the Court of the Grail.
The fascination of the Avalon stories is partly the fact that they have kinship with all those dreams by which men have always tried to realize an ideal world. The Atlantis of Solon, the Green Island of Youth of Usheen, the Green Meadows of Enchantment of the Welsh legends, the Enchanted Island of Peredur and the Hy-Brasail of Irish story, as well as Montsalvat of the Parsival, all have close relationship with Avalon. They are more childlike renderings of such dreams as Moore's Utopia, Campanella's City in the Sun, and Bacon's New Atlantas. Those who are attracted by the poetry of such legends should read Higginson's fascinating "Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic." As they trace his way past the Azores to the Bermudas and Norumbega they may even think it fair to place the real Avalon on the shores of the New World, toward which all such dreams have tended.
We gather up what we have been saying in this thought, that Avalon, bright though misty, may correspond in the idealism of girls to what the Holy Grail does in the idealism of boys; that, a vision to be won by the chivalrous; this, a social condition to be earned by the pure in heart. And the ideal is truly feminine--woman the nurse and healer of mankind, in youth and age, rules by her virtue the kingdom where all men live in peace and purity.
THE GIRLS AS HEROINES
Just as the large figure of the Lady of the Lake is used to suggest queenly womanliness in general, so there is added the further element of hero-worship by asking the girls themselves to be known in this society by pleasant names out of the olden legends. Here are some from the Arthurian stories:
Olwen, beneath whose feet four trefoils grew wherever she stepped.
Blodeuwedd, who was made of flowers to be the fit wife of a hero.
Repanse, the keeper of the Holy Grail.
Belicent, mother of Gareth and Gawaine.
Ygerne, mother of King Arthur.
Enid, the patient.
Elaine, of sweet, girlish innocence.
Lynette, the strong maiden who led Geraint on his first quest.
Nicolete, of the white footsteps, who trips through the dainty story of Aucassin.
Griselda, the long-suffering.
Una, of the many adventures.
And as a Court is imagined to consist of queenly persons of all times, other books and other lands are sought for type-heroines. Such as these:
The Bible--Martha, Mary, Elizabeth, Dorcas, Deborah, Rebekah.
Saints--Agnes, Blandina, Margaret, Elizabeth, Lucy, Marcina, Clara, Cecelia, Catherine, Theresa.
Greek literature--Andromache, Cassandra, Nausicaa, Penelope, Iphigenia, Alcestis.
Shakespeare--Viola, Rosalind, Cordelia, Imogen, Isabella, Hermione, Perdita, Miranda, Virgilia.
Scott--Ellen Douglas, Flora MacIvor, Rose Bradwardine, Catherine Seyton, Jeanie Deans.
Romance--Beatrice, Una, Dulcinea.
Famous Women--Jeanne d'Arc, Dorothy Wordsworth, Lady Jane Grey, Queen Louise of Prussia.
Modern Women--Elizabeth Browning, Margaret Winthrop, Florence Nightingale, Jenny Lind, Clara Barton, Louisa Alcott, Dorothea Dix, Mary Carpenter, Elizabeth Fry, Frances Willard, Jane Addams, Alice Freeman Palmer, Helen Keller.
A very pretty thought is to take not only a name but a dominion over which to reign. Some of the beautiful titles used in Court Guinevere, Hartland, Vt., were: Lady Louisa May Alcott of Maidenheart, Lady Alice Freeman Palmer of Wellesley; Lady Victoria, of England, Lady Mary of Palestine, Lady Martha, of Bethany; Lady Florence Nightingale of Crimea, Lady Ellen Douglas, of Scotia; Lady Lynette of Camelot; Lady Cecilia of Rome.
The girls should select, or the Lady of the Lake may assign, one of these names. The girls are called by them in their meetings. They study their lives, or the stories in which they appear, learn their excellencies and emulate them in their daily life. By carefully studying the character of the members, the Lady of the Lake may be able to suggest heroines possessing just the traits the girls should cultivate.
That most appropriate names for Courts are those of places that have been made famous by the deeds of noble women.
Following are names of places which are associated with particular events in the King Arthur story, with their present identifications so far as known:
Tintagel, the King's birthplace, in the Castle of Pendragon, and the scene of Tristram's death--of the same name now, in Cornwall.
Celidon, one of the King's battlefields. Celidon is near Lincoln.
Badon, where the King won the last of his twelve battles which made him lord of all England--Badbury in Dorset, or Bath.
Caemerddin, "the Castle of Merlin," in Wales.
Cameliard or Camelgard, the kingdom over which ruled the father of Guinevere--Cornwall, or, according to others, Kent.
Joyous Gard, the home and Castle of Launcelot--Bamborough.
Carbonek, the enchanted castle that Launcelot sought on his quest.
Camelot, where was the capitol and castle of the King, and where is the Round Table--Winchester.
Astolat, where lived the Lady of Shalott--Guildford, in Surrey.
Sarras, the mystic city which Galahad went to reign over, in "Babylon."
Broceliande, wild woods in Brittany, where Vivien placed Merlin under enchantment.
Montsalvat, where, according to the German story, lived the Knights of the Holy Grail in a castle, with a bell hanging always outside, which anyone in trouble might ring for succor--on the Rhine.
Carlisle, London, York, Lincoln, Dover--as now.
Lyonesse, the home of Tristam and the King's last battle field, beneath the waves, west of Cornwall.
Avalon, where Arthur went for healing and where lived the Queens and the Lady of the Lake; where also King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are buried--Glastonbury.
From other legends come: Beaucaire, Torellore, Arden, Bermoothes.
From the Bible we get: Bethany, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Shunem, Tabor, Esdraelon.
From recent history and story we have: Plymouth, Annapolis Royal, Lindisfarne, Edinburgh, Crimea. Many others can easily be suggested. Courts that take the place of sororities may be named with Greek letters that are initials to their mottoes.
Names from local and Indian legends are appropriate. Names of persons would better be reserved as titles for the members themselves.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE
According to Tennyson, there were three queens of Avilion, Morgan le Fay, the sister of Arthur, the Queen of Northgalis (North Wales) and the Queen of the Waste Lands. Layamon's Brut mentions Argante, an elf wondrous fair, while another version names Nimue, the Lady of the Lake.
The character of the Lady of the Lake in the ancient traditions is alluring in its very evasiveness. According to a very old story, Morgan le Fay, Arthur's sister or half-sister, was "the offspring of the sea," like Venus, and, brought up among the wise, devoted herself to magic. She was mischievous rather than wicked and at the end of the story her skill in healing remains, for Arthur's help, while her elfishness is outgrown.
In a Celtic version the name of the Lady of the Lake is Liban. Entrusted with the care of a magic well, she neglected her trust, and was condemned to remain beneath the waters, with her pet dog turned into an otter, as a mermaid. There she still waits for her release, hungry for the dew of the grasses and the wild roses and the heather of Erin of the Streams, and singing songs that bring tears to the eyes of those who listen to her.
A French story tells of a fairy who lived beneath a lake, who stole Lancelot from his mother when he was a babe, and, after training him till he was as wise and strong as he was beautiful, she presented him at King Arthur's court.
The prettiest version of the character of the enchantress is the Welsh Triads. There Vivian, or Nimiane, is a child, to whom Merlin promises to show "many wondrous plays." Merlin described a circle with his wand and then came and sat beside her by a fountain. Thereupon "he caused an orchard to grow, and all manner of fruits and flowers," and the maiden cared for nothing but the singing of the pleasant folk who walked there. Merlin had once ruled England when it was just a land of flowery meadows. His subjects were "the little people" and their lives were all singing, playing and enjoyment. He also had a kingdom beneath the waters where all were happy, missing nothing but the light of the sun, which came so faintly through the water that it cast no shadows. The same legend discourses of Morgan le Fay, saying: "She was of noble clergesse (meaning that she could read and write like the clergy), and of astronomy could she enough, for Merlin had her taught, and she learned much of egromancy (magic or necromancy); and the best work-woman she was with her hands that any man knew in land; and she had the fairest head and the fairest hands under heaven; and she had fair eloquence, and full debonair she was, as long as she was in her right wit; and when she was wroth with any man she was evil to meet." This lady was one of Merlin's pupils. But still Vivian was his favorite, being to him like a younger sister, "and ever she inquired of his meaning and his mysteries, each thing by itself, and he let her know all, and she wrote all that he said, as she was well learned in clergie and learned lightly all that Merlin taught her; and when they parted, each of them commended the other to God full tenderly." According to another story, Merlin had a magic tower in Broceliande, in Brittany, where Vivian alone could come through the magic walls. And here the story comes to a more beautiful end than in Tennyson. "It was toward this tower that Merlin was last seen by some Irish monks sailing away westward, with a maiden, in a boat of crystal, beneath a sunset sky."
Tennyson, as usual, spiritualizes the character, made up apparently from such meagre hints as these. As loving as a sister, as kind as a good fairy, she is as strong as a super-woman.
The Lady of the Lake,
Who knows a subtler magic than his own--
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful.
She gave the King his huge cross-hilted sword,
Whereby to drive the heathen out. (1)
But like the cross her great and goodly arms
Stretch'd under all the cornice and upheld. (2)
(1) COMING OF ARTHUR Tennyson
(2) GARETH AND LYNETTE. Tennyson.
The water in which Tennyson baptizes her cleanses her from any elfish stain and she seems to stand as the incarnation of Holy Church:
Drop of water fell from either hand;
And down from one a sword was hung, from one
A censer . . . . . . .
And o'er her breasts floated the sacred fish.
GARETH AND LYNETTE.
Down in a deep--calm, whatsoever storms
May shake the world--and when the surface rolls,
Hath power to walk the waters like our Lord.
COMING OF ARTHUR.
A serene picture of the strong beneficent grace of Mother Church. It is she who gives Arthur the sword Excalibur.
Thus, compact of old legends of water and wildwood, of clerkly lore and magician's enchantment of girlish lure and womanly tenderness, these stories of the Lady of the Lake are as composite as woman herself. They set as an aim for self-understanding and self-expression by girls that which the great ages of romance and magic dreamed of effective, queenly womanhood.
Singling out especially the spiritual aspects of the Lady of the Lake, her name has been taken in the play-scheme of this society of girls to stand for its leader, the woman who represents the guardianship of the Church in their lives. She would be wise and able, and like Morgan le Fay, have "a subtle magic of our own" with her pupils.
The necessity of wise leadership being recognized by the leaders of this movement, they grant charters for local Courts, never to girls alone, only to such adult leaders.
HOW TO ORGANIZE
Select a small group of congenial girls--they may be a Sunday school class or a club that has already been organized. It is better to begin small with a natural fellowship and grow in a healthy fashion than to start with a crowd and then dwindle.
Upon the first evening it is well to tell the stories that are given in this booklet, of the Lady of the Lake and of the Island of Avalon, and suggest that the girls themselves are to realize Avalon in their life together. The reading of the model Constitution will answer their questions as to the framework of the organization by which this may be done. The animated discussion of plans will probably fill the rest of the session.
On the second evening a session of the Court may be rehearsed, with officers temporarily selected by the leader from those who seem to her most likely to be immediately efficient. A permanent organization should be made by nomination of the girls themselves at an early date.
The purpose of the earliest sessions is to generate imaginative enthusiasm. Girls naturally add a glamour to all that they experience. We wish them, in this society, to lose themselves when they are together in the atmosphere of the age of chivalry, but we wish them still more to carry with them into their personal lives the consciousness of a queenliness of beauty and gentleness. They will have a good time always, but deeper than that we desire to have them live a new sort of life, a moral life transfused by romance.
Just what the Court will practically do may be postponed for a few sessions until the girls have caught the spirit of this play-society and have gotten used to working together. Then they will be ready to do well whatever they may undertake.
The several reports of Courts published in this booklet show that it is not a difficult matter to start such an organization. We would urge all to do just as these leaders have done, begin in the most simple manner. Concentrate attention upon essentials, the adult leadership, heroines for the girls to admire, and service for others. Starting with these, additional features may be developed as they are found advisable. Do not try to do everything that other Courts are doing. Select from their reports the one or two things you can do in your community. Learn to do them well. Then, as you develop power and capacity, try to do other things. It is always wise to hold as much as possible in reserve.
A leader, though giving permanence to essential things, should be sensitive to the fleeting interests of the day.
The Constitution herewith printed is meant only for suggestions. It should be carefully worked over by every leader, and made to fit the local situation. We shall be very glad to have reports from all who try this plan, with all the changes they make.
Organized under this name, using the two essentials, personal leadership and the heroine idea, the girls may undertake any form of work that could be carried on by any organization. They may assist a local church, study and contribute to missions, support benevolent and philanthropic enterprises, carry on study classes and sewing schools, conduct socials, musicales and literary entertainments, or do anything desirable and profitable.
The Avalon-idea is particularly adapted to be a poetic interpretation of the kingdom idea, already central in the church in its girls' clubs and mission circles. Such societies do not need to disband or to change their names in order to become affiliated with the Queens of Avalon. Each local court is wholly self-governing. The head-quarters offers help, but dictates nothing.
It is thought that the study of the domestic life of the ladies of ancient courts may help to encourage the girls to housewifely tasks and to various ancient and modern kinds of handicraft.
While the Ladies of King Arthur's Court, as the Queens are often called when formed in the same localities as Castles of the Knights of King Arthur, are a parallel organization, they are not meant to be a mere auxiliary to a boys' club, nor is it believed to be wise for two local societies of boys and girls to coalesce into one. Emulation and mutual help are more wholesome at this age than constant co-education.
In general, the presentation of inspiring literature, especially heroic biography, the development of beautiful and dramatic exercises, the giving of worthy plays, the use of the story hour and visits from noble men and women to the Court are advised as being methods of intellectual training for the girls. There should be instruction in the finer household arts and exalting of the humbler ones. Emphasis should be placed upon the sanctity of the home, the sacredness of human love, the noble function of motherhood. The necessity of adequate preparation for life, by schooling or trained skill, should not be forgotten. All information about philanthropic and missionary work should culminate in practical and co-operative service. Beside the work that is done as a group the girls should be encouraged in individual kindness and courtesies.
The Court meetings are usually held every two weeks, and are usually held at the church or parish house, but sometimes at the homes of the members.
At the church meetings the ritual is taken up and the degrees of Pilgrim and Lady are conferred upon the members at such times as they shall have fulfilled the requirements of those degrees. To supplement the regular business meeting, many Courts arrange interesting talks on Travel, Missions, Hygiene, First Aid, etc., or plan classes in Gymnastics, Basketry, or some other instructive work.
The home meetings take the form of seasonable parties, such as Hallowe'en, Christmas, and Valentine, Backward parties, Bachelor Parties, Slumber Parties, and many others too numerous to list. During the year there might be held a Guest Night, when the Knights or other friends of the Queens are invited. Then there is the summer camping trip. Some courts have surprised their newly engaged members with shower (ten cent, tin showers) which have afforded considerable entertainment.
One of the watchwords of the Queens of Avalon is "Service," and many Courts have felt that they could best serve by doing something at least once a year for the "home church" or the church where the Court meetings are held and for as many of the other churches to which its members belong as possible. For instance, one Court furnishes a supper entertainment every January to assist the women's association, and gives all its receipts for the support of the church.
The Queens of Avalon is a charitable organization, and its subscriptions are not only to local causes, but to national and international as well. Whether it be a cry from the Near East or an appeal for Christmas toys for the "kiddies," the Queens of Avalon are ever ready to do their bit.
In order to raise funds with which to meet these various demands some Courts hold a Thanksgiving or Christmas bazaar or fair, others give plays or other public entertainments, while still others sell chocolate, vanilla or some such product from which quite a material profit can be realized. One Court has what it calls a "Lenten Sacrifice." The plan is that during Lent each member shall save, either an extra earnings or special sacrifice, a certain amount of money which is turned over to the Keeper of the Royal Purse the first meeting after Easter. While this does much to swell the exchequer, it also serves to give the members some special thing to work for during Lent and presents them the true meaning of this season in the church life.
Marshmallow toast at home of Lady of Lake.
Pilgrimage to the tomb of an early pastor.
Rehearsal for coronation. Handicraft.
Rehearsal for coronation. Dressing dolls.
Business session. Degree practice.
Holy Week services.
Business session. Initiation.
Kewpie party. ("Baby Party")
Play for benevolences.
Regular court session.
Annual meeting. Election of officers.
Church meeting. Ritual and Rehearsal for Coronation.
Church meeting. Travel talk.
Polly's Kitchen. (Hallowe'en party.)
Hiker's Moon party.
Church meeting. Travel talk.
Church meeting. Ritual.
April Fool's Party.
Church meeting. Ritual and Travel talk.
Church meeting. Ritual and Degrees.
Midsummer's Day party.
Vacation reveries (Reminiscences.)
Church meeting. Ritual.
Church meeting. Degree Work.
"Gobbler" party. (Thanksgiving).
Court Session. Junior Court as guests.
Home worker's entertainment.
St. Patrick's party.
Talk on social service.
Church meeting. Basketry.
East to West. (Progressive dinner party.)
Tortoise and the Hare. (Hike.)
Arranged by months:
Elections and Coronation.
Basket lunch indoors;
Visit to a neighboring club or reception to one;
New Year reception;
The annual Vigil and making of Queens.
Here is an actual program from January to May of Court Evangeline, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Study--The Coming of Arthur
Life of a heroine
Debate: Resolved that civilization has been a benefit to the human race.
Study--Lancelot and Elaine
Missionary meeting. Lady Lynette. Topic: India
Review of the awakening of India
Study--Lancelot and Elaine
Life of a heroine
Progress of the Chinese War
Debate: Resolved that all questions of dispute should be settled by arbitration.
Study--Lancelot and Elaine
Study--Gareth and Lynette
Life of a heroine
A short story
Study--Gareth and Lynette
Topic: South America
Short facts about physical conditions of tribes and countries
Problem and its solution
Outlook and our help
Study--Geraint and Enid
Life of a heroine
Debate: Resolved that Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays.
Study--Geraint and Enid
A missionary play
Study--The search for the Holy Grail
Life of a heroine
Debate: Resolved that Arthur was a myth or ideal and not a real person.
Study--The Passing of Arthur
The first denial of missions
Wrecking of Ungking
Initiation of Queens
Initiation of Ladies
Initiation of Pilgrims
Lady Esther, Leader
Lady Enid, Leader
Lady Esther, Leader
Lady Florence, Leader
Some of the special that have been successful are these:
1. Taking up stories of knightly interest.
2. Interest in foreign missions in China was aroused by an educational talk followed by a "China tea." The program was entirely made up of Chinese things.
3. Simple programs of vital talks followed by instrumental or vocal solos are always appropriate.
4. One Court had a temperance meeting whenever there was a fifth meeting in the month.
5. Court Red Deer always spent the entertainment time in Domestic Science meetings at the home of one of the girls.
6. A straw ride in October.
7. Queens of Telluride, Colo., in studying Japan, all dressed in Japanese costumes, guests likewise. Refreshments were served in Japanese style and on the floor. Decorations all consisted of Japanese fans, screens, etc.
8. One Court (Weaverville, Cal.) divided year into three seasons: The first part they took up basket-weaving, the second cooking, and the third sewing.
9. Evening of games.
10. One Court always has a reading from Tennyson's "Idylls," a regular part of their program.
11. Another Court has regular ritual meetings the first and third weeks, while the second is given over to literary and the fourth to missionary subjects.
12. A roll call, responded to by each member with an interesting current topic.
13. At each meeting one member should be asked to give a biography of her heroine.
14. Mock trial or debate.
15. Candy pull, in masquerade.
16. Lady of the Lake may tell a story, during which the girls act out the principal parts.
17. The Point System used in advancing members.
18. Illustrated talks--on travel, great people, or religious subjects.
19. Educational and vocational talks on vital problems, situations and local interest.
20. Court paper perhaps once a month. Chief editor is appointed and she writes the editorials, which generally deal with Court matters. She selects her assistants and gives them different departments as--foreign, town, society, poetry, and advertising. The paper then is read by the various members and much fun and interest can be secured by artistic references to the listening members.
21. The Court should always plan to give at least one play during the year. This gives an outlet to the dramatic instinct, offers pleasure, and often substantial reward.
22. Singing is enjoyed by all and it is often very enjoyable to take a meeting and devote it to favorite songs. Every Court should have a local song about their Court.
23. Tournament and ancient games.
24. Christmas tree for poor children.
25. Christmas morning visits with gifts.
26. May-basket party.
27. Victrola concert.
28. Progressive games.
31. Nature-study hikes.
32. Singing school.
The Lady of the Lake should watch that the meetings do not become monotonous. When this is the case, do not use session so often, change to something new. Do not over-emphasize the rituals and, on the other hand, make the degrees worth while. Find out what the most natural and pleasant things the girls like to do, also undertake the things you are best fitted to do, and by giving the girls the activities they will work hardest you will gain their active support. Base your plans on the fundamental ideas and aims you have started to carry out. Fix a high goal end when you have climbed to that, build another farther ahead. Don't be satisfied with anything but the fulfillment of the aims of the Order.
Much help will be gained from the study of the handbook of the Knights of King Arthur. Omitting the plans adaptable to boys only, much will be found that will be suggestive.
Especially would we emphasize the importance of providing good literature for the girls to read. Too often we find them infatuated with the light, weak, sentimental novels, that is the bulk of the reading people. One who has seen a girl absorbed in a trashy book, oblivious of all things else in the world, realizes the attractive power, and the influence of the heroine and the ideals portrayed therein. Care is of course to be taken not to make good literature a bore. Among younger girls the story is the best introduction to the great books. The choice of names for the girls from the best books will influence them to read them.
The following is not a list of the "best" books for girls' reading, but is rather a list of some that represent ideals consonant with those of the society, and therefore useful for the Court library. A girl may be required to read a certain number selected from this list in order to earn promotion.
"Of Queens' Gardens," from Ruskin's "Sesame and Lilies" (15cts a copy, Maynard, Merrill and Co., New York.) This may be regarded as the textbook of the society, to be studied as thoroughly attractively and devotedly as possible, its mottoes to be illuminated by the members and its choicest lines memorized.
"Heroines Every Child Should Know," in the "Every Child Should Know" Library, published as a reprint.
"Stories from the Old French Romances," by Ethel M. Wilmot-Buxton.
"The Story of King Arthur and His Noble Knights," by Mary MacLeod.
The Duchess of Wrexe--Hugh Walpole.
Controlled Power--Arthur Holmes.
Windjammer Yarns--Alex Anderson.
The Better Understanding--A. E. Thomas and Clayton Hamilton.
Facts, Fancy and Opinion--Excerpts from Atlantic Monthly. Edited by Arthur Gray.
Human Nature in the Bible--Wm. Lyon Phelps.
Personality--Harry Collins Spillman.
My Garden of Memories--Kate Douglas Wiggin.
Glimpses of Authors--Caroline Ticknor.
Over the Hill--Margert Slattery.
Acres of Diamonds--Russell H. Conwell.
Courage--Sir James Barrie.
"Historic Poems and Ballads," edited by Rupert S. Holland.
"The Child's Book of Saints," by William Canton.
"Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic," by Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
"Historic Girls," by Elbridge S. Brooks.
"The Three Gifts of Life," by Nellie M. Smith (on sex ideals).
"Boys, Girls and Manners," by Florence Howe Hall.
What has been said of books applies to music. Can we not lead our girls above rag-time and dance music to something better? Music should be made a special feature in every Court. A Court should have the influence of lifting girls above the emotionalism of the popular revival hymn on the one hand and above the sensuous appeal of rag-time on the other.
Do your girls need any advice as to their deportment in public? The girls should be made to realize their influence over the boys. Especially where Courts are organized in association with Castles of the Knights of King Arthur, there will be many opportunities for showing the girls how they can be of real service in helping the boys. They should be led to see that the girls who flirt, who attract attention in public by their loud conversation, who are boisterous in their deportment, always bring upon themselves remarks of an insolent and offensive nature, and are in very grave danger. A girl who is ladylike in her deportment, unobtrusive in her demeanor, pure in thought and action, while happy and joyful in spirit, naturally and invariably repels any rudeness, coarseness or vulgarity, and so tends to refine the manners of the boys with whom she comes in contact. This is the girls' part in modern chivalry.
We are learning that one of the very best methods for developing character is by service for others. The Queens of Avalon must not fail in this respect. There are countless opportunities. The church at home and abroad, charity, both local and general, affords many openings. To think of others, to consider their needs, to render aid, tends constantly to the growth and development of the highest spirit.
Strive for such personal development that each member may be depended upon to promote those activities that stand for the betterment of life.
Emphasize promptness in the payment of dues and the return of collected moneys, and punctuality both with regard to attendance at meetings and the performance of duties.
Select the worthwhile things and make the girls realize what makes for them. The good times have their place and a large one, but the things which endure are those that call for service and sacrifice--the things we do for others less fortunate than ourselves.
Try to make the members feel free to express their ideas and opinions at the meetings. This not only develops the initiative and resourcefulness of the girls, but also strengthens the spirit of cooperation in the Court.
An atmosphere of self-sufficiency is antagonistic and undesirable at all times. Such a trait can be eliminated by a diversity in the Court's charity donations and by the proper amount of co-operation with other church and charitable organizations.
Loyalty should be inculcated early in the life of the Court--loyalty to the high ideals of the Order--loyalty to leader--and loyalty to one another, as it is one of the finest of civic virtues.
A SUGGESTED CONSTITUTION
I. This Sisterhood is of the Order of Queens of Avalon and is known as Court No.--
II. The object of this Order is to cultivate Christian womanliness among its members and to render Christian service in the world.
III. Any girl between the ages of (fourteen and twenty-five) who is acceptable to all of the members is eligible for membership.
IV. 1. The membership is limited to (thirty.)
2. On absence from two meetings without an excuse the Marshal notifies the delinquent, and if at the third meeting she is absent without an excuse she is dropped from the roll.
V. Upon admission every member shall be known as a Pilgrim.
VI. After attending a prescribed number of meetings, choosing the name of some famous living, historical, or allegorical character and presenting to the Queen Regnant at the time of receiving her degree the essay on the life of the heroine she has chosen, a Pilgrim may become a VIII. The officers of the Court shall be:
1. A Lady of the Lake, who must be an adult or somewhat older than the membership, and who shall serve in perpetuity. She shall have entire charge of the Court and all activities must meet with her approval before being undertaken.
2. A Queen Regnant, who shall preside over the meetings.
3. A Scribe Royal, who shall keep the records.
4. A Vice Scribe Royal, who attends to all correspondence of the Court.
5. A Keeper of the Royal Purse who shall have charge of the finances.
6. Other officers, such as Marshal, Chancellors, Herald, Sergeant-at-Arms, Armoress, Ladies-in-Waiting, shall be elected by the Court.
VIII. An Executive council shall be composed of the Lady of the Lake, the Queen Regnant, the Court Marshal, the Keeper of the Royal Purse, the Royal Scribe, the First Lady in Waiting, the first Chancellor and past Queens Regnant.
IX. Sessions of the Court shall be held on. . . . . . . . Special meetings may be called by the Lady of the Lake.
X. The names of those who wish to become members must be presented to the Court at least seven days before being balloted upon.
XI. All elections must be by ballot.
XII. The entrance fee shall be twenty-five cents. The fee for initiation to the rank of Lady shall be fifty cents. The fee for initiation to rank of Queen shall be seventy-five cents. The annual dues shall be $1.00, payable in advance on or before December 1st.
XIII. For transaction of business (fifteen) members shall constitute a quorum.
XIV. 1. The Constitution shall read before the Court at least once a year.
2. The meaning of the different degrees shall be explained to the Court once a year by the Queens of that degree.
XV. Bills are payable by the Keeper of the Royal Purse only, after they have been certified to by the purchaser and brought before meeting and voted upon.
XVI. The Constitution may be amended at any regular meeting, notice of which has been posted at least seven days in advance.
THE REGULAR SESSIONS
A package of Forms for the Sessions of the Court is furnished all regularly constituted Courts. Here are some further suggestions.
The Queen Regnant selects from the Queens of the Court two Queens to represent the Queens of Northgalis, North Wales, and of the Wastelands in the legend and thus to make constantly visible the three Queens of Avalon. Either of them may be called to the throne, if she desires to yield her seat for any reason.
In reading the Roll the adopted name of each member is used, and a prefix distinguishes the rank. Thus, Mary Arden takes the name of "Frances Willard" and is so called as long as she is a pilgrim. When she becomes a Lady she is called "Lady Frances Willard." When she becomes a Queen, she chooses her Kingdom and may be hailed as "Frances Willard Queen of Arcadia," etc.
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREES
While each Court is allowed to make its own requirements for the degrees, there are several items which have been found generally useful. Some simple reading may be required of all before they enter the Court. The time probation before asking the second degree is necessary as assuring that the member is interested and instructed enough to go forward. Such a member should in addition have presented the biography of her heroine. Among girls of the proper age it is well to learn from the girl's mother whether she has received an adequate instruction in the matters that pertain to her womanhood and this, given privately by the mother, the family physician or by some other competent person, but never in classes, may be a requirement for the second degree. For the third degree it is wholesome that mere church membership should not be enough, but that the candidate should have become enrolled in some worthy, regular form of service, her rank to be maintained by maintaining equivalent service. "He that is chief among you let him be your minister."
APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
Court. . . . . . . . Queens of Avalon
. . . . . . . . . . . . .Church
I,......................................................................, being..................years of age, do now apply for membership in Court.......................................Queens of Avalon. I promise that I will faithfully obey all rules and orders of my officers; that I will do all that is in my power to work for the interests of the Court and of the Order; and will conduct myself right, modestly and courteously at all times.
Date of birth:
Permission of Parent
I,.................................................................. of applicant, hereby give my free consent and approval to her joining Court..........................................., and will help her live up to the vows which she takes on joining the same.
Endorsement of Member
I,.....................................................................rank of................................................. in the Order of the Queens of Avalon do recommend the above girl for membership in our Court, and believe that she will do as she has promised.
It has been found advisable to form Junior Courts of those girls who are between the ages of twelve and sixteen, as they are more congenial and work together to better advantage than groups of more varied ages.
MAIDEN--The degree of Maiden is for use in Junior Courts. It is a preliminary degree for a Pilgrim and must be held for at least one year.
PILGRIM--The degree of Pilgrim may be granted to a Maiden who, in the judgment of the Lady of the Lake, after one year's service as a Maiden, is prepared for the next degree. This degree shall not be granted to anyone under 14 years of age.
LADY--The degree of Lady may be granted to a Pilgrim who has fulfilled all requirements and in the judgment of the Lady of the Lake is prepared for this higher degree. This degree shall not be granted to anyone under 16 years of age.
QUEEN--The degree of Queen may be granted to a Lady who has fulfilled all requirements and in the judgment of the Lady of the Lake is prepared for this higher degree. This degree shall not be granted to anyone under 18 years of age.
In addition, Caerleon (national headquarters) urges a point-system or its equivalent in each Court as a requirement for promotion, and earnestly requests each lady of the Lake to advance only those girls whose character and conduct indicate a realization of the ideals of the Order.
Such formal requirements are not suggested in all places. Elsewhere, Courts seem to work like large families, the older girls helping to train and care for the younger ones, wherever possible.
When a candidate is initiated the degree of Pilgrim is immediately conferred upon her.
The next degree is that of Lady, and in order to become a Lady she should fulfill the following requirements:
She must attend ten out of twelve consecutive meetings. In case of absence the Pilgrim must attend one meeting for each one missed with a good excuse, such excuse to be sent to the Lady of the Lake within one week from date of meeting.
During this time in which she is a Pilgrim, she should prove herself a willing servant of the Court and be deeply interested in all its activities.
A Pilgrim, having chosen her heroine, writes a story of the heroine and reads it before the Court when the degree of Lady is conferred upon her.
A Lady means a bread-giver. She is now a citizen in the Kingdom of Avalon and carries forward the idea of loving and helpful service.
She must be a regular attendant at Church and Sunday School and strive for all that is highest and best in the work of the Order.
A lady must be letter-perfect in the ritual.
It is wise to let the coming forward of any girl to become a lady mean not the mere serving of a season of time but some preliminary instruction or admonition by the Lady of the Lake as to what winsome purity really means, with special guidance such as each particular girl may need. Before any girl takes the vow, she should know what defects of misdemeanors upon her own part need to be guarded against, in the fulfillment of her covenant. It may be wholesome to have the deprival of rank held in reserve as a reminder of the seriousness of an unkept vow.
To Become a Queen
The candidate must be a church member.
She must attend Church and Sunday School (the latter may be optional) at least three times a month for six months.
She must be engaged in some constructive work in Church or community, to be approved by the pastor or the Lady of the Lake.
She must know the Commandments and the Beatitudes.
She must have read "Sesame and Lillies" and "The Idylls of the King."
She should have a vigil in the darkened Church, at which time she shall have a personal talk with the Lady of the Lake on weak places in her character and how best to overcome those weaknesses, and be given a Quest by the Lady of the Lake.
The keynote of all--to be engaged in service for others--or, as Margaret Slattery puts it, "Never mind Me!"
Note.--the rituals to be used in the conferring of these degrees can be had by application to headquarters. They come with the outfit for establishing a Court or can be ordered separately by courts already established.
SUGGESTED QUALIFICATIONS FOR PEERAGE DEGREES
Conferred by National Chancellors
Degree awarded for:
a. Five years of active membership
b. For praiseworthy service to the Order.
c. For perfect attendance at Conclave and work meetings for two years.
d. Assistance in forming a new Court.
a. For active membership for five years, and for vital interest in Court activities.
b. For founding a new Court.
c. For influencing for good the five least responsible members of the Court, so that
they may become loyal members of the Order.
d. Perfect attendance in Church School for five years.
e. Head of a County Palatine.
a. For active membership in Court or Chapter for ten years.
b. To the Lady of the Lake who has maintained a Court ten years.
c. For founding two Courts.
d. For founding one Court, and assisting in forming one or more others.
e. For teaching a Sunday School class five to ten years.
Given to Lady of the Lake of a State Province, or of a County Palatine.
Optional. Not for any specified effort, but for the one in each Province who seems to
have learned and inculcated most fully the principles of the Order.
Given at annual Conclave.
6. Princess of Avalon
Given to but one person each year, and only at National Conclave.
Given for remarkable service to the Order or for heroism.
QUEEN EXALTED (A Special Degree)
This rank is given with the Wreath of Blanchefleur and is granted by the local Court only for deeds of unusual heroism and self-sacrifice. The name of the girl receiving this degree should be sent to Provincial Headquarters, whereupon it will be placed on the Queens' Honor Roll to be read at the next annual Conclave. The symbol of this degree shall be the wreath of Blanchefleur, corresponding to the Siege Perilous in the Knights.
Gold across color of one's rank
Red and Gold
FORM FOR ADVANCEMENT TO HIGHER DEGREES
Queen Regnant. Are there any who seek higher degrees?
L.O.L.--Queen Morgan le Fay, I have the honor to present to you Queen . . . . . . . . of . . . . . . . ., as worthy of the rank of . . . . . . . .in our Order.
Q.R. What is the lineage and history of this sister?
L.O.L. Queen . . . . . . . . , whom I name for the rank of . . . . . . . . ., was made a Pilgrim in our Order on the . . . . . day of the . . . . . month in the year . . . . ., a Lady on the . . . . day of the......................month in the year................., a Queen on the .....................day of the . . . . month of the year. . . . , and has proven herself a loyal and worthy sister of our Order.
Q.R. What fitness has she shown for so noble a rank?
Q.R.--Queen..................................................................., you may present yourself at the throne (rising). And now whereas it hath been represented unto me by our guardian, the Lady of the Lake, that this sister is worthy, I, Morgan le Fay, Queen Regnant in the Order of the Queens of Avalon, do by my special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, confer upon Queen . . . . . . . . of Court . . . . . . . . the rank of nobility of . . . . . . . .in this Kingdom, and grant, constitute and ordain unto her the title of . . . . . . . . . of . . . . . . . .
Lady of the Lake, you may give her the Parchment of her nobility.
Congratulations may be offered by the members of the Court.
The higher degrees are conferred by national headquarters, upon certification by the local Lady of the Lake that suitable conditions have been met. The form above is to be used after the proper patents of nobility have arrived from headquarters.
THE OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES (Suggestive)
1. Queen Regnant. Should always be the most active girl and one the whole Court places first. Much depends on her ability and enthusiasm and it is often well for the Lady of the Lake to appoint the first Queen. She not only presides at the meetings but, with the Lady of the Lake, shapes the policy to be followed. Her part in the Court sessions and initiations should be thoroughly learned or the Court members will soon give up the attempt of learning their parts. It is often wise to have the period of Queenship only extend a period of six months, so many of the girls may have the advantages secured. Still it is unwise to change the leadership when the pinnacle of progress has been reached, for a poor Queen may tend to topple the Court backwards instead of keeping it at its best.
After the rank of Queen has been established, the Queen Regnant must be chosen from those having this degree. She can hold that office but one year, it having been found from experience that the training received does much to broaden and develop the member and it is desired to give this training to as many Queens as possible.
At the meeting preceding the annual meeting, the Queen Regnant is elected directly by popular vote of the Court and not by nomination.
2. SCRIBE ROYAL
To keep records of all meetings.
3. VICE SCRIBE ROYAL
To attend to the correspondence of the Court.
4. KEEPER OF THE ROYAL PURSE
To pay all bills. To collect all dues. To make report at each meeting and Annual report.
5. COURT MARSHAL
To have charge of the Roll-Call. To notify members who have been absent two meetings without sufficient cause and after three meetings without sufficient cause that they have been dropped.
To have absolute charge of regalia, keeping it in order and pressed, and making new. To be keeper of the Royal Key.
7. COURT MUSICIAN
To play for Court sessions. To be Cheer and Song Leader. To have charge of music for any special service for which she may be asked to furnish music.
To arrange furniture for Court session. To keep order at meetings. To be Door Tender, and receive the Password. To have charge of formation of march and seating of members.
9. COURT HERALD
To carry the Court banner. To be responsible for notifications of all meetings for both newspaper and Church calendar.
To suggest and carry out, with the aid of the Court, ways and means of making money. To have charge of entertainments. To plan the yearly calendar. To find places for meetings.
11. LADIES IN WAITING
To have full charge of Initiations and Degrees. To be responsible for notifications of every member for any change of meeting. To have charge of sending flowers, etc., to sick members of the Court.
12. EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
Composed of Lady of the Lake, Queen Regnant, Court Marshal, Keeper of the Royal Purse, Royal Scribe, Head Lady in Waiting, Head Chancellor and past Queens Regnant. To decide matters of importance and points of discussion. To be the Court of appeal.
13. QUEEN OF THE NORTHGALIS (NORTH WALES) AND QUEEN OF THE WASTELANDS
The Queen of Northgalis and Queen of the Wastelands are chosen from Past Queens Regnant to hold office in perpetuity, the Queen of Northgalis being chosen first. The prerogatives of the Queen of Northgalis are to give counsel to the Ladies-in-Waiting and of the Queen of the Wastelands, to act as adviser to the Chancellors, these two to assist the Queen Regnant whenever and wherever it is possible.
Note.--In the following pages we give a very complete and beautiful coronation ritual for a church where it may best be used.
For other courts in churches where a more simplified form is desired the ritual for this ceremony may be had from headquarters.
These rituals cover the Sessions of the Court, Conducting Pilgrims to Avalon, the Degree of Lady, the Degree of Queen and the Coronation Ceremony.
Address: Knights of Arthur, Lock Box 169, Boston, Mass.
A FORM FOR A CORONATION
(Throne Chair for the Queen in the center of a platform, with chairs for Lady of Lake and Queen of Northgate at the right, and Queen of Wastelands on the left, the three Queens together. Other chairs arranged in circle in front of throne, the officers being nearest the throne on either side and then Queens, Ladies and Pilgrims with the Sergeant-at-Arms closing the circle at the opposite end from the Queen. Previous year's officers used.)
Tonight in happy song
In voices clear and strong,
Our joys ascend
Once more our friends we meet,
Once more our vows repeat,
Once more at Jesus' feet
We lowly bend.
As sisters here we stand
Joined in a noble band
To guard the right
Whatever things are pure
Whatever shall endure
What makes life's crown secure
For these we fight
The tie that makes us one
The friendships here begun
We'll ne'er betray
These be our watchwords three
Love, labor, loyalty,
And true, we'll ever be
To Q. O. A.
We now take up our tasks
What labor duty asks
We'll gladly do.
For smile displaces frown
And cross gives way to crown
When toil's dark blinds are down
And love shines through.
(The order of the march is double file.
(carrying Court banner)
(carrying American flag)
(Herald and Marshal step forward and place banner and flag in
standards on either side of the platform, then resume their places.)
First Lady in Waiting
Keeper of the Royal Purse
Queen of Northgalis
Lady of the Lake
Vice Scribe Royal
Queen of the Wastelands
(Subjects bow as Queen passes to throne.)
(At tap of Queen's sceptre, all are seated.)
MARSHAL--(standing) Hear ye, Hear ye, all and sundry. The Court is called in special and solemn session in order to hear our yearly reports, to install our newly appointed and Court ministers, for the making of the Queens and the crowning of our Queen Morgan le Fay to rule over our Kingdom. (Sits down.)
(From this point the ritual follows that of the regular Sessions of the Court, on page . . . ., beginning "Pilgrims to the shrine of purity and truth," unto the close of the reading of the roll.)
QUEEN--The Royal Scribe may read the yearly proceedings of our Court.
QUEEN--The Keeper of the Royal Purse may give her yearly report of our Exchequer.
(Each of the above reports should be on scroll.)
QUEEN--Sister Marshal, (Marshal comes forward and bows before Queen) Bring hither to the Lady of the Lake the Heralds newly chosen.
(Note.--The charges to minor officers, given below, may be omitted.)
M. My L.O.L. I present to thee.................................................. and................................................ who have been chosen Heralds of Court Victoria.
L.O.L. Maidens, ye have been chosen Heralds of our Court. It is your duty to carry messages for our Queen, and to make proclamation as she may bid you. You are given charge of the Castle banners, and it is your duty not only to carry them in procession, but to see that they are respected and cared for. ............................................., into thy hands I deliver the Court banner. Its red field signifies courage and sacrifice. The white cross stands for purity, that each who looks upon it may remember that she is to wear forever the white flower of a blameless life.
H.C. From thy hands, my L.O.L., I receive the banner of courage, sacrifice, and purity. It lesson shall ever be in my mind, as it shall ever be in my faithful care. And thereto I pledge thee my word.
L.O.L..........................................., into thy hands do I entrust the flag of our country. See that it is honored as the sign of union, of law, and of national faith.
H.F. From thy hands, my L.O.L., do I receive the flag of our country. I will care for it and honor it with all my heart, and thereto I pledge thee my faith.
L.O.L. The Marshal will conduct you to your stations.
Q. Marshall, bring hither the Chancellors newly elected.
M. My L.O.L., I present to thee.......................................and....................................... who have been chosen Chancellors of this Court.
L.O.L. Ladies your duties are of the gravest moment. You are the Queen's counsellors. With you lies the care of the membership of the Court. Your honours have been well won. Assume your places next below the throne.
Q. Marshall, you may conduct hither the Keeper of the Royal Purse.
M. My L.O.L., I present to thee......................................., chosen Keeper of the Royal Purse.
L.O.L. ............................................. I have chosen thee for a post of great honor. Into thy hands I commit the Royal Purse. Be thrifty, be diligent, be accurate. Let none meddle with thy trust.
K.P. My L.O.L., I promise thee that the monies of the Court shall be guarded with care, and the tally thereof found correct each night.
2. Marshal, Bring here the newly elected Royal Scribe.
M. My L.O.L., I present to thee........................................., chosen Royal Scribe for the coming year.
L.O.L. .......................................to thee I entrust the Court Roll. See that it be spotless and trustworthy. As Prime Minister of her Majesty Morgan le Fay, take thy seat by my side at the Council table.
S. My L.O.L. I will serve my Queen and Court with all my might, and with them and thee ever will I keep faith.
(The Lady of the Lake then briefly reviews the work of the Queen Regnant, with a word of appreciation. If a remembrance from the Court is to be given to the retiring Queen, it should be presented at this point.)
QUEEN--Let us rise and together renew our Royal Covenant. (All rise and crossing hands right over left join in circle--the unbroken circle of sisterhood.)
A sacred burden is this life we bear
We will look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly;
Stand up beneath it steadfastly,
Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin
But onward, upward, till the goal we win,
Recessional--Tune "Sweet and Low."
Marching slow, forth we go, Queens of Avalon,
Hearts sing, voices ring, Queens of Avalon
Into the light of truth's bright way
We go to worship and obey
Loving and serving alway,
Always faithful, ever pure in heart.
(Herald and Marshal with banners lead, followed by Queen and Lady of Lake, two Queens, then officers, etc.--double file.)
(Held in the Church, immediately following the vestry service.)
(After the congregation has been seated, the doors are closed, and the Court outside gives the Avalon very quietly and as one voice: (Tune--"Taps").
(Camelot) stands by you--
(Then the doors are thrown open, the organ sounds the chord, and the Processional follows: "Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart." (Four stanzas.) The order of the march is as follows--the newly elected officers taking the places this time, having changed their regalia in the interim between the services:--
1 Pilgrim carrying
crown on silk pillow
or silver plate which
is placed immediately
on Communion Table,
Pilgrim resuming place
2 Pilgrims carrying swords
Queen of Wastelands
Lady of the Lake
1 Pilgrim carrying
2 Pilgrims carrying swords
Queen of Northgalis
(Uncrowned, but wearing royal robes)
(The Herald and Marshal place their banners in standards at side of their chairs which should be either side of the steps leading to the centre of platform--the chairs facing the congregation. Places should be left at the ends of the first two pews for the four Pilgrims with swords. The Queens should sit nearest the outside aisle with the Ladies next and then the Pilgrims at the ends. The Communion Table should be in the centre of the chancel against the chancel rail. The Queen-Elect should be in the throne chair just at the left of the table on the platform with the Queen of Northgalis at her left. At the right of the table is the Queen of the Wastelands and at her right the Lady of the Lake. Any guests as speakers should sit outside this circle. The Queen-Elect is seated immediately on reaching her seat, but the members follow the example of the Lady of the Lake.)
SIR DUBRIC (the minister) reads or leads in the responsive reading of Psalm 24. (Followed by the Gloria, by all.)
SIR D. The Lord be with you.
ALL. And with thy spirit.
SIR D. Let us pray. (All kneel or stand)
SIR D. (or in unison.)
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee and worthily magnify Thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
ALL. The Court Prayer: ("O Lord, we beseech Thee, bless our order," etc.)
ALL. The Lord's Prayer.
(Candidates to be made Queens step forward before the Altar (Court seated), Lady of the Lake at right of Platform and Sir D. or the Queen of Northgalis at left, proceeded as follows:)
Sir D. or QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS--Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
LADY OF LAKE--Have we placed obedience to God constantly before us as the highest aim of our life?
Response sung by Court very softly--"Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law."
Sir D. or the QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS reads the rest of the Ten Commandments with the following responses by the Lady of the Lake.)
2. Have we worshipped Him in sincerity and truth, meaning the words we took upon our lips?
3. Have we spoken or thought lightly or irreverently of sacred things, especially of the Name that is above every name?
4. Have we endeavored to make Sunday a holy day a day of rest and service?
5. Have we given due respect, gratitude and obedience to our parents, our teachers, and those in authority?
6. Have we cherished ill will in our heart toward anyone?
7. Have we been pure in thought, word and deed?
8. Have we taken aught that was not ours without the owner's consent?
9. Have we spoken untruths or unkindness of our fellows and have we always been true friends?
10. Have we been discontented and unhappy, or have we wished for what was others?
(Response after the Tenth Commandment and its question: Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these Thy laws in our hearts, we beseech Thee.)
(Sir D. or the Queen of Northgalis reads each of the Beatitudes with the following questions after each, the responses being as before, or, The Lord being my Helper.)
LADY OF THE LAKE
1. Are we willing to practice the presence of God and to learn to obey the laws of the kingdom to which we belong?
2. Are we willing to be patient, hopeful that we shall some day be content?
3. Are we willing to seek "the charity that cannot believe, the ignorance that will not know, the gentleness that will not condemn the sins of others?"
4. Are we always eager to obey the heavenly vision, to do according to the pattern shown us in the Mount, to follow Jesus?
5. Will we be merciful, always a true queen for Christ, serving the weak and especially our younger sisters?
6. Will we be pure in thought, speech, manners and conduct, under the help and blessing of God, our vow when we were Ladies?
7. Will we be true peacemakers by doing our "utmost for the highest?"
8. Will we stand alone, misunderstood, neglected, if need be, to be numbered with those who seek a better country, that is a heavenly even the city that hath foundations, the Kingdom of God among men?
(After the last Beatitude and response by Lady of the Lake, the Court sings the following response--"Lord, have mercy on us, and write all these Thy laws in our hearts, we beseech Thee.")
PRAYERS by Sir D. or the Lady of the Lake: (candidates kneel) O Lord God, most high and mighty, who doest Thy will through the strength of men, bless this crown. Bless it with the power of Thy will. Bless it with the humility of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. Bless it with the gentleness of Thy mind, that it may be justly used. Bless it with the wisdom of Thy mind that we do know for what we fight. Bless those who bear it that they may not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and fight under His banner against sin, the world and the devil, and continue Christ's faithful servants unto their life's end. Amen.
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, bless each of Thy servants, each of these Christian Queens, upon whose breast we place the Holy Cross, the symbol of the Passion of our Lord. Grant that, as it is close to each heart, so she may learn to love it, and her right hand to defend it, and that, thus sealed with the sign of love she may go forth, not to be ministered unto but to minister and give her life a ransom for many. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.
LADY OF THE LAKE--Queen of Northgalis, these Ladies do desire to become Queens.
QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS--"Are their hearts prepared for the duties and responsibilities of this high degree?"
LADY OF THE LAKE--I trust so.
QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS--(To Candidates) Ladies are you with true and honest hearts ready to take the pledge of Queen?
CANDIDATES answer--I am.
QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS--Wise Counsellor, Lady of the Lake, will you read from our Royal Statutes those words that name the duties and prerogatives of a Queen of our Court. (This reading may be omitted.)
LADY OF THE LAKE. reading from "Sesame and Lilies"--
Within the human heart there is always set an instinct for all its duties--an instinct which you cannot quench, but only warp and corrupt if you withdraw it from its true purpose--as there is an instinct of love, so there is in the human heart an inextinguishable instinct, the love of power, which rightly directed, maintains all the majesty of law and life, and wisdom misdirected, wrecks them.
Deep rooted in the innermost life of the heart of man, and of the heart of woman, God set it there, and God keeps it there. Vainly as falsely, you blame or rebuke the desire of power for Heaven's sake and for man's sake, desire it all you can. But what power? That is all the question. Power to heal, to redeem, to guide and to guard. Power of the sceptre and shield: the power of the royal hand that heals with touching; the throne that is founded on the rock of justice, and descended from only by steps of mercy. Will you not covet such power as this, and seek a throne as this, and be no mere housewives only, but queens?
That which was true when you were Ladies is equally true of the queenly dominion. That highest dignity is open to you if you will also accept that highest duty. Rex and Regina--Roi et Reine, rightdoers; they differ from the Lady and Lord in that their power is supreme over the mind as over the person--that they not only feed and clothe but direct and teach. And whether consciously or not, you must be in many a heart enthroned; there is no putting by that crown; queens to your lovers, queens to your husbands and your sons, queens you must always be to the world beyond which bows itself, and will forever bow, before the myrtle crown, and stainless scepter of womanhood.
But alas! You are too often idle and careless Queens in defiance of the power which you hold as a gift from the Prince of all Peace, "Prince of Peace." Note that name.
Oh, you Queens--you Queens! Among the hills and happy green wood of this land of yours, shall the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; and in your cities, shall the stones cry out against you, that they are the only pillows where the Son of Man can lay His head?"
QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS--These words, dear sisters, tell you that you come from the service of our Court, only to meet the higher service of the world. To be a Queen of our Court means to be one who is consecrated not to be ministered unto but to minister. In order to fulfill this noble task, you must take the ancient knightly vow. (Candidates kneel).
LADY OF THE LAKE--Kneeling by this altar, do you covenant with us and with your own heart to serve your Master, the Church and this Order, as a true Christian Queen?
CANDIDATE answers I do. (Then Candidates stand.)
(From this point the service may be shortened by omissions as desired.)
(Charges by Lady of the Lake to individual candidates.)
As the Lady of the Lake goes down steps, she says:
The truly noble adown all the ages, whether in history or romance, are truly great because of their lives of service. "He who would be greatest among you, let him be your minister."
CHARGES:--holding each girl's hand in turn.
(Suggestive charges used--
Queen Edith Cavell When the names of the great generals in the World War have been forgotten, Edith Cavell's name will still be luminous in history. She was called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. But being dead she yet liveth. May something of her unselfish spirit be yours, as you think of your heroine, and your life be one of great power and usefulness in the world.
Queen Mary "Hail Mary, blessed are thou among women." So sang the angel to Mary the Mother of our Lord. Hers was a life of unsurpassed sweetness and loveliness. And in every Christian land her praises are sung and adoration given to her name. As day by day, you live your life in the world--may you catch a vision of her matchless purity, and find strength and courage to do your best.
QUEEN OF NORTHGALIS--I hereby proclaim that those who were known among you as Ladies are now rightly Queens of Avalon.
(Candidates resume places.)
(If the Queen of the Wastelands or the Queen of Northgalis is to be crowned, she should come forward at this time and kneel before Lady of the Lake who gives charge.)
RECESSIONAL--The following officers go out in order:--
Candidates just made Queens
HYMN by the Congregation (announced by Sir Dubric or another.)
(Queen of Northgalis goes to the right of platform beside the Lady of the Lake, Queen of the Wastelands crosses.)
Queens (now crowned)
4 Pilgrims with upright swords
Sergeant at Arms
(Queen is seated--Court remains standing. Audience seated.)
(Herald proclaims the gift of sacrifice, which the Queen kneeling places on the alter, following the proclamation.)
DEDICATORY PRAYER by Sir Dubric (Court kneeling.)
COURT MARSHAL--I hereby proclaim that she who was known among us as Queen....................................... is now rightfully Queen of Avalon and as her champion, and her liege of life and limb and of earthly worship I stand in her defense to keep faith and troth with her, to live and die with her against all manner of folk, so help me God.
ADDRESS by Sir Dubric or another.
(Queen-Elect takes the oath. Kneels in front of Lady of Lake in centre of platform. Repeats oath after Lady of Lake:)
I, Queen....................................... take oath to rule wisely and lovingly, to honor the Holy Church, and my sovereign Lord by giving to the world the power and blessing of Christian womanhood.
(Lady of the Lake administers Water from a bowl brought forward by the Pilgrim at right. Queen of Northgalis places the crown. Queen of Wastelands presents the sceptre. As the new Queen rises, the Court says: "All Hail to our Queen." There is a burst of music from the organ and the Pilgrims flourish swords. The Queen sits, then soft music is played, as the Ladies and Pilgrims pay homage to the Queen. They should come by twos, the Ladies first, kneel before the Queen and kiss her right hand, the member on the Queen's right taking the hand first, then go back to their places. When this is completed the organist should immediately begin to play the
RECESSIONAL--"Purer yet and Purer." Two verses.)
4 Pilgrims with upright swords
|Queen of Northgalis|
|Queen of the Wastelands|
Lady of the Lake
Benediction by Sir Dubric (Court standing or kneeling at the door.)
(Much can be added to the dignity of this program by attention to the smaller details as well as perfection in all the ritual. There should be no confusion about the kneeling or standing and of course the members should always bow as the Queen passes and stand whenever she stands.)
The ordinary regalia consists of a blue sash with a white maltese cross for the Pilgrim; a red sash with a silver maltese cross for the Lady; a Queen wears a white sash. These sashes are worn over the left shoulder with the cross over the heart.
For full Court regalia all wear white flowing gowns, patterned after the period of gowns worn by ladies of King Arthur's time, with the different insignia of office. The gowns may be embroidered in colors according to the fancy of the wearer, quite simple for Pilgrims and becoming more elaborate as a higher degree is attained. This does not necessitate making a new gown, but merely adding to the original.
The Lady of the Lake wears a cape embroidered with maltese crosses over her white gown. The cape has a gold-lined hood. The Queen Regnant wears a robe with crown and sceptre, the Queen of the Northgate a cape embroidered in gold with maltese crosses, the Queen of the Wastelands a similar cape.
The Keeper of the Royal Purse and Scribe Royal wear short capes embroidered in gold with maltese crosses, the Ladies in Waiting small white capes with gold tassels, the Chancellors embroidered shoulder bands.
The Court Herald wears a blue cape embroidered in red maltese crosses, the Musician a red cape, and the Armoress a blue cape with yellow hood.
The Pilgrims all wear white head-bands with blue maltese crosses in the center front, and these fasten with a chin strap.
The Ladies wear similar head-bands with red maltese crosses.
The Queens wear crowns with a white maltese cross embroidered in gold in relief in the center front.
RECORDS OF SOME OF THE COURTS
There was a Court of Queens associated with the first Castle of the Knights of King Arthur as far back as the year 1894, and a number of other Courts were organized in connection with other earlier Castles. These at the time were numbered consecutively with the Castles and a very meagre ritual was circulated in manuscript form for their use. All these organizations must long ago have passed out of being.
On March 20, 1902, Excalibur Court was organized in the Central Congregational Church, Newtonville, Mass., by the Rev. Ozora S. Davis, Ph. D., D.D., LL.D., later President of the Chicago Theological Seminary, and Mrs. E. S. Nagle. With no knowledge of the fact that the idea had been previously suggested, the girls were organized on the general plan of Castle Lyonesse, 121, of the Knights of King Arthur, which was in successful operation in the same church. The purpose was to interest girls of thirteen to sixteen years of age in all forms of good work, in both the home and the foreign field. During one of the first seasons the Court raised twenty-five dollars for a scholarship in an academy in the west; ten dollars for work in Africa; made quilts for the hospital and orphanage in Labrador; sent flowers and fruit to the sick, and entertained a working girl's club.
Court Excalibur, Number I, lived about seventeen years.
The second Court also worked out a modification of the ritual of a neighboring King Arthur Castle. This was in Northfield, Conn. Three of the Queens were named Faith, Hope and Love. Faith presided over the meetings, Hope was Secretary and Love acted as Seneschal.
Crystal Court, Number 5, San Francisco, was originated by Mrs. Fay Chase Kellogg, at Irving Institute. The idea was thought to be entirely original and the name League of Avilion was adopted, it being hoped that other Courts of a similar character would be formed. Later our organization was heard of and the Court became affiliated and many of its plans were incorporated with ours. The virtues inculcated were Truthfulness, Purity of Speech, Purity of Life and Faithfulness. The vow made especial mention of abstaining from slang. There was a special grade of Penitents, those who had been unable to keep their vows for ten weeks. These were on probation, were not despised, but were encouraged to engage in self-confession and self control. There was a pretty use of stones or "jewels."
The "Aspirants" wore the pearl, signifying purity, the "Ladies-in-Waiting," the sapphire, signifying truth, the "Pilgrims," the garnet, meaning courage. Each Queen wore a crown, without a jewel at first, but should she keep her vow with sincerity she might be given a jewel every ten weeks.
Court Victorious, 7, Worcester, Mass., rose from six to fifty members. Their work was among the poor, connected with the City Flower Mission. Eleven girls in the Court joined the church in one year.
Court Locksley, 24, St. Johnsbury Center, Vt., adopted a ringing Court cry with the inspiring phrase: "We serve, We rise, We win."
Court Mem Hayin, 66, Otterbein, Ind., made the apple blossom its flower, which has, appropriately, since then been made the flower of the Order, and in the month of May held a special session at which "the Wreath of Blanchefleur" was awarded to the one who had been queenliest in character during the entire year. This honor corresponds to the Siege Perilous in the Knights of King Arthur.
Court Guinevere, 108, Hartland, Vt., initiated its Ladies in a beautiful grove. The Court rode in the village Fourth of July parade, dressed in white with blue sashes, in a wagon decorated in red and white. This Court had an occasional Mothers' Day.
Court Sunshine, 56, Milford, N. H., helped a missionary in Alaska. During the summer they purchased and began to dress twenty-seven dolls, with eyes that open and shut. In September a farewell reception was given these dolls, each of which had the name of its girl maker, and they were all dispatched to Alaska in time to become Christmas presents.
During an absence of the Congregational pastor at Teluride, Colorado, the Queens were in charge of the morning service. The Queens were all dressed in white, the Lady of the Lake, Miss Gertrude Bennett, was in black. They marched into the choir loft and pulpit, preceded by the K. O. K. A. boys and the service was then carried on precisely as if he had been there except that the sermon was replaced by brief papers by the girls on their heroine whose name had been adopted by them. Every part was taken and taken well.
Red Deer Court, Red Deer, Alta, Canada, followed a program for each month. On the first and fourth Tuesday they had a heroine meeting when two members told the life story of their heroines. At these meetings they also had vocal and instrumental solos, duets, etc., and occasionally a short talk by some competent lady on subjects that are of vital importance to the girls.
The second Tuesday was their Domestic Science Lesson. They met in the kitchen of one of their members, where after the theory part of the lesson was taught and notes taken by the girls. The practical demonstration was given by two queens. Pancakes, graham gems, or whatever were made formed the lunch, with a cup of cocoa, for the evening.
They followed outlines of Cooking Lessons, used in St. Louis Public Schools.
On the third Tuesday of each month they had a missionary evening. This dealt with the Canadian immigration problem. Questions were distributed a week or two in advance, covering the lesson for the evening. The girls came prepared to discuss the question.
Court Astolat--(Columbus, Ohio)--Meetings were held every week with lives of two heroines, and a short program of music. Each initiation was celebrated with a 'spread,' with toasts or a visiting speaker or story teller. The girls had as one mission the frequent reading to an old blind lady. They had organized a basket ball team and play twice a week. They had a system of points with beads of different significance. The girls pledged fifty dollars to the new recreation hall, connected with the church."
Court Hildegarde--(Weaverville, Calif.)--"One year we made baskets at our meeting, while one member read aloud, and when the Ladies' Aid had their annual fair we found a ready market there. They were displayed in a Wigwam booth, the girls in charge wearing Indian costumes and taking turns working on a basket by a camp fire. Fifty dollars was cleared, which was turned over to the church expenses. Since then we had Domestic Science one winter and last year plain sewing. The last play was given in conjunction with the K.O.K.A. A hundred dollars was made which has gone toward building a choir loft in the church. A charge has been made in the second degree, and it is called the 'Order of Hildegarde.' The key-note is personal purity and a little white badge with embroidered 'H' is attached to the Q.A. pin. The Pilgrims do not know the meaning of this degree, and work earnestly to be worthy to achieve the new honor."
Seabreeze Court--(Seaside, Oregon)--"We have given a number of church socials and take active part in the S. S. work. An old lady was taken to church morning and evening by the girls. We did calling and made it a point to visit the sick and the strangers. We have taken many trips to neighboring places of interest. One was to the baby home. Another to the hospitals to visit the sick who have no family or friends. We conducted a church nursery during church services, so mothers could attend."
Court Q.A.--(Cheyenne, Wyoming)--"Our members' ages ranged from fifteen to nineteen. We 'livened our program with music and real missionary meetings. Our membership decreased with girls leaving, but soon a new set of younger girls again resumed the work. We are sure that some of the girls have been won to Christ and the church that would not have been if the Q.A. had not found its way into their lives. Those at the heads of the different church organizations soon learned that the Q.A. could be depended on and so we soon had plenty of work. If decorations were needed for special occasions, such as Easter or Christmas, we put them up; if the Ladies' Aid gave a supper, we served; if the choir was falling off, we supplied with our members. Thus in many ways we tried hard and soon made our influence felt. At various entertainments and money raising propositions, we have raised from $5 to $60 which we have spent judiciously where it was most needed. I personally believe that the Q.A. is the best kind of an organization and one which fills a need in the uplift of the 'girl problem.' It is a clean, uplifting, spiritual organization that any girl can lift her head with pride when she says she is a member."
Court Camelot 378 (Marlboro, Mass.)--The predominant characteristics of our Court have been "service" and "loyalty." An organization founded on loyalty, loyalty to the high ideals of the order, loyalty to our leader, loyal to each other, cannot help having some measure of success. Our membership, which is limited to thirty is full and we have a waiting list.
Approximately five hundred dollars yearly is disbursed from our exchequer for the higher service of the world, for the appeals we receive are not only local but national and even world-wide. Whether it be for the relief of starving children in the Near East, the support of a French war orphan, the maintenance of a bed in the Floating Hospital or for some worthy local cause, we have always given willingly and as generously as our royal purse would permit. These gifts have been made possible by the sale of vanilla, chocolate bars, etc. Also goodly sums have been realized from annual bazaars, plays, Lenten sacrifices and the like.
But all work and no play makes a dull program. Without forgetting the more worth-while things, camping trips, hikes with a "weenie roast" at their culmination, gym classes, banquets and various kinds of parties with their seasonal significance have been sprinkled generously all along the way.
There is one game that Court Camelot likes especially to play. It is known as the "Pollyanna" or "Glad Game." We have played it with wounded soldiers in Oteen Hospital, North Carolina, and have shared it with a beautiful Christian girl, who at the time of her death was confined in a State hospital, suffering untold agonies, and at the present time we are striving to bring happiness into the life of a Belgian miss, who, motherless, fatherless, and without a relative in this country, has been pronounced incurable by physicians, and probably will send the rest of her life in a Sanatorium after having given her all in service for our country. The rules of this game are very simple. All one needs is a big, understanding heart and a desire to scatter deeds of kindness. In our court each player has a turn once a month. On her appointed day she sends some thoughtful remembrance, whether it be a letter, a book, candy, flowers, or some feminine accessory that we all like to possess, etc. Thus, by being thoughtful once a month, we are able to bring something of cheer and joy into 365 days that might otherwise have been a year of loneliness. We feel that it is well worth while, for we have received, as a munificent reward, jewels in the form of letters, sunny smiles, and added inspiration to do our "Utmost for the Highest."
Better even than the reports of the leaders are the opinions of the girls themselves. All these letters below are from a single Court:
I have spent some of the happiest hours of my life at the Queens' meetings. The Order has always been an influence for good. The Queens' organization has caused a greater desire to attend Church services. After a few months of this influence I first had a desire to be confirmed.
The Queens of Avalon has given me a right good time, besides helping me to overcome many of my faults.
LOUISE OF PRUSSIA
The Queens of Avalon has meant a great deal to me, and has been of great interest. Through it I have gained many friends and had many good times. Being different from most societies, and taken from olden times, and the Knights of King Arthur, and a religious order, I think it ought to interest any girl.
ENID OF CAERLEON
2 Bear a lily in thy hand,--
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand,--
O thou Child of Many Prayers.
3 Bear through sorrow, wrong and ruth
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth,--
O thou child of Many Prayers.
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW, arranged by Mrs. John Paul Stafford
The Chapter is the women's department of the Queens of Avalon, parallel to the Commandery of the Knights of King Arthur.
It is in no sense a senior Court, but a result of training for life-membership.
The first Chapter, Victoria of Roxbury (Boston), was formed in the spring of 1922. Its members are trained Queens, whose membership has been from five to twelve years. Two are charter members of the original Court, and four are mothers.
The regular members are third degree Queens, who have served in that degree at least a year in their Court, or if desired, are so serving while also becoming members of the Chapter. No one under the third degree can be admitted as a regular member.
The ritual is a modified form of the Conclave ritual, which all value, some necessary omissions being made.
The regalia is a white ribbon sash, with the ribbon of a higher degree applied through the centre when the wearer's rank entitles her to it, both held by the Maltese Cross of the Order.
The Officers are a Lady of the Lake, Scribe (also serving as treasurer), with the proviso that such other officers may be chosen from time to time as the needs of the Chapter may require.
The work of the Chapter has included the help given to the younger girls, the planning of work for the Court, assistance in their work for the parish and the Church at large, and invaluable help to the Lady of the Lake in her correspondence in province and nation.
The work of the church Periodical Club is the special form which the Chapter's mission work has taken. This keeps it in touch with work in China, Alaska, and far-off sections of our own country.
The Queens of Avalon have shown me what true womanhood really is, and also more about the spiritual side of life.
ELEANOR OF ENGLAND
Since I have joined the Queens of Avalon, which was two years ago the 15th of January, I think it has made me look on the religious side of life.
LOUISA ALCOTT OF CONCORD
I think the Queens of Avalon is splendid to help the girls in their religious life.
JENNEY LIND OF SWEDEN
Since I have been in this club it has made me have more courage to do what is right and to help others. And I also like the spirit of the club.
I wish every girl in the world could belong to it. There would be less sin.
Now let us raise our song
To the friendships we have made,
May they always be strong
Firm foundations laid.
May our hearts be clear and pure,
As we each our best gifts lend,
May our faith be true and sure,
Each a cheery friend.
Queens of old Avalon --
Be thou ever our dear friend,
Dear Queens of Avalon --
We raise our song again
Tune--"Nearer My God to Thee"
Our dear society
Thou art our Queen,
Deep in thy unity
Thy heart serene
Still all our song shall be,
Love, faith and purity,
Draw us closer to thee
Queens of Avalon
DAYS ARE NEVER VERY LONELY
Tune--"Long, Long Trail"
Days are never very lonely
Nights go all too soon
When Court Camelot bids welcome
And in gladsome tune:
Dear friends, you are ever welcome
And we wish you well,
Won't you join with us in work and play
And love Court Camelot well?
There's a gay young Court a-weaving
Into the life of the Church
Where the older ones are resting
And for other workers search.
There's a good big bit of working
Until our dreams come true
Till the day when we'll be doing
All the things we've planned for you.
Press forward, faithful pilgrim,
Press forward to the light;
The light that guides thy footsteps,
That fills thy soul with might.
'Tis truth's alluring banner
That leads thy weary way,
A light to guide and cheer thee
To realms of endless day.
The legion foes of darkness
May surge about thy way;
Deceit allure and blind thee,
Thine onward march to stay.
Look upward to thy banner,
With truth its central star,
And see the crown that waits thee
In the bright worlds afar.
Press forward, faithful pilgrim;
Let Purity and Truth
Be e'er thy law of counsel,
Be e'er thy guide of youth.
The God of Truth will help thee
True witness to confess,
The saints in light will crown thee,
The pure in heart will bless.
Tune--"Sweet and Low"
Marching slow, forth we go--
Queens of Avalon.
Hearts sing--voices ring,
Queens of Avalon.
Into the light of truth's bright way,
We go to worship and obey,
Loving and serving always,
Always loyal, ever pure in heart.
Gladly smile, joy worth while--
Brighten dreary days,
Hearts that sing, laughter bring--
Cheering life's weary ways.
So now let's go in happy song,
Telling our faith in voices strong
Living in high devotion,
Pilgrims happy are, Queens of Avalon.
Tonight in happy song,
In voices clear and strong,
Our joys ascend.
Once more our friends we meet,
Once more our vows repeat,
Once more at Jesus' feet
We lowly bend.
As sisters here we stand,
Joined in a noble band,
To guard the right.
Whatever things are pure,
Whatever shall endure,
What makes life's crown secure,
For these we fight.
The tie that makes us one,
The friendships here begun,
We'll ne'er betray.
These be our watchwords three:
Love, labor, loyalty;
And true we'll ever be
To Q. O. A.
We now take up our tasks,
What labor duty asks
We'll gladly do:
For smile displaces frown
And cross gives way to crown
When toil's dark blinds are down,
And love shines through.
QUEENS OF AVALON, Bridgeport, Conn.
O THOU CHILD OF MANY PRAYERS
Tune--Gottschalk's "Last Hope," called "Mercy" in the hymnbooks
O thou Child of Many Prayers,
Life hath pitfalls, Life hath snares,
Care and Age come unawares,--
O thou Child of Many Prayers.
Associate members are being admitted to the department, but not as regular members. These are women who have not been trained in the Order, but are members of the families or friends of the members of the Chapter. They agree to uphold the ideals of the Order, to help when possible, and to help girlhood anywhere toward the ideals of the Queens or Avalon. Associate members may wear the pin of the Order. Special meetings are planned for them, or they may be invited to joint meetings of Chapter, or Mothers' night, with the Court.
It is hoped that as Courts grow along together into womanhood, they will re-organize as Chapters, keeping the same valued name, and try to carry out their ideals in their own Order; making their first duty the forming of a new Court, which they will care for and train into all that becomes Christian womanhood.
APPARATUS FOR THE QUEENS OF AVALON
The OUTFIT for the Queens of Avalon usually consists of the following material:
The new handbook, twenty-five copies of the Court ritual and each Degree, Charter, Lady of the Lake Certificate, samples (of the celluloid and gold-plated pins, and Federation and enrollment into the National Organization.
Leaflets, containing ritual for Sessions of the Court,
or the Degree of Pilgrim, Lady or Queen ......................$ .36 a doz
No. 1--Celluloid badge, white cross on field of red, with blue letters Q.A. Useful for new Courts or for pledging members.............$ .60 a doz.
No. 2--Gold plated pin--small design, blue letters on white maltese cross with red background...........................................................$ .50 each
Federation--Every Court pays to Headquarters an annual due of $1.00 which helps to meet the clerical and correspondence expenses. A small Certificate is sent in return.
Note.--If further information is desired regarding anything that has to do with the activities of a Court, write to headquarters and it will be cheerfully furnished.
The Knights of King Arthur, Handbook...................$2.50
All correspondence is to be addressed to
The KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR
Lock Box 169, Boston, Mass.
THE KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR
The noblest of our Anglo-Saxon legends portrays the chivalric character of the Knights of old, who, gathered about the Round Table, under the leadership of Arthur, guided by the noble Merlin, transformed the spirit of their times, and inspired men to live highly, to love justice, to right wrongs and to follow the King. When Arthur passed away he promised to return again to earth.
This prophecy was at least partially fulfilled in the lives of thousands of boys, when, under the leadership of Dr. Forbush, they organized new Round Tables and founded Castle Halls, in which the spirit of Arthur was reincarnated.
Complete detailed information concerning the order is to be found in the handbook, "The New Round Table," which has been entirely rewritten, the rituals carefully revised, and everything brought up to date. It contains the fruits of over thirty-two years of experience with the most successful and largest boys' church fraternity ever organized. Cloth, $2.50, postpaid. All orders must be accompanied by cash and should be addressed to
THE KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR,
Lock Box 169, Boston, Mass.