Allured by the published transactions of the club, our friend Lawton presented himself at the headquarters toward lunch time and announced himself as a candidate for membership. An executive session was hastily convened. Endymion broke the news to the candidate that initiates in this select organization are expected to entertain the club at luncheon. To the surprise of the club, our genial visitor neither shrank nor quailed. His face was bland and his bearing ambitious in the extreme. Very well, he said; as long as it isn’t the Beaux Arts cafe.
The itinerary of the club for this day had already been arranged by the secretary. The two charter members, plus the high-spirited acolyte, made their way along West Street toward the Cortlandt Street ferry. It was plain from the outset that fortune had favoured the organization with a new member of the most sparkling quality. Every few yards a gallant witticism fell from him. Some of these the two others were able to juggle and return, but many were too flashing for them to cope with. In front of the ferry house lay a deep and quaggish puddle of slime, crossable only by ginger-footed work upon sheets of tin. Endymion rafted his tenuous form across with a delicate straddle of spidery limbs. The secretary followed, with a more solid squashing technique. “Ha,” cried the new member; “grace before meat!” Endymion and the secretary exchanged secret glances. Lawton, although he knew it not, was elected from that moment.
The ritual of the club, while stern toward initiates, is not brutal. Since you are bursar for the lunch, said the secretary, I will buy the ferry tickets, and he did so. On the boat these carefree men gazed blithely upon the shipping. “Little did I think,” said Lawton, “that I was going for a sea voyage.” “That,” said the club, “is the kind of fellows we are. Whimsical. As soon as we think of a thing, we don’t do it.”