America's Oldest "Tea Drinking and Whisky" Speaking Society
The Reunions 2000 Meeting -- Part I
Prelude to a Meeting
At shortly after nine o'clock in the evening of May 25 in the year 2000, various members of the Most Right and Honourable Merton Society convened in the library of the University Cottage Club in Princeton, New Jersey to commence the much-anticipated Merton Society "Reunions 2000" meeting. The primary purpose of this meeting was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1975 Merton Society Speaking Season.
A healthy number of Peons were present in anticipation of an exclusive role as the audience. They had done a superb job in setting up the library facilities in preparation for the meeting by arranging a row of chairs for the audience to sit on each side of the walkway leading from the entrance of the library to the writing room (known as the "Merton Room" in Society parlance). They also had provided for ample food and drink in the Merton Room, including the traditional teacups and saucers for tea, whisky or other suitable libations. After a brief organizational interlude that allowed a few straggling tourists to take several photographs of the room before being encouraged to leave the premises, the meeting began in the Society's traditional manner.

As each member entered the room, his full title was announced by Archdeacon Shepley of Gooseberry, the evening's Huissier Audiencier. As he had done in 1975, the Archdeacon used an inverted billiard cue crowned with an ornamental religious candle as the announcement baton. This was a particularly sentimental moment for the Archdeacon, because during his famous "Enunciation and Renunciation" lectures in 1975, he had bravely and successfully defended the Society's traditional title of "Huissier" against a skeptical Peon, who had alleged that it actually meant "Hoosier" in French. Needless to say, that Peon was never invited again to another Merton Society meeting.

The following is the order of entrance for the announcements:

After the Announcement ceremony, the members congregated in the Merton Room and secured appropriate vantage points from which to view the events of the evening.
Stocking Up on Provisions for the Evening
Sir "Honest" Jonathan of Fletcher "discovered" a box of Merton Society cigars. Unable to wait until after the meeting was convened, he proceeded to try the famous cheroots.
Then Lord Admiral Richard of Waldron came forward to the edge of the dais facing the Peons. Choosing to ignore the tourist taking an unauthorized photograph in the rear of the room, he proceeded to call the Reunions 2000 meeting to order.
The Lord Admiral Approaches the Bridge
Meanwhile, Sir Waynathon of Dilldox was desperately looking for a cigar cutter, unaware that Sir "Honest" previously had sold most of them to the Peons as "limited edition" historical souvenirs.
The Lord Admiral continued by indicating that some of the discussions for the evening would provide evidence that the origins of the Merton Society could be traced scientifically to the Royal Society of England, established under King Charles II in 1660. Also citing the "continental" characteristics of the Merton Society, he paid tribute to "the vain exercise of the mind on useless subtleties" addressed by the Montmor Academy in seventeenth century Paris, and suggested that two such exercises would be displayed that evening in the form of traditional Merton Society lectures. The audience was thus suitably primed.
He was followed by Sir Waynathon, who proceeded to explain to the Peons in the "Goober Gallery" how things are done in the Merton Society.
Sir Waynathon encouraged the Peons to participate throughout the evening, but only with proper Merton behavior. If they liked what they were hearing, they were encouraged to say, "Hear, hear!" And if they didn't like what they were hearing, then they were to clear their throats loudly.
Sir Waynathon had the audience practice these actions several times so that they could perform them with Peonic alacrity.
For some Members, such behavior came naturally.
At this moment, one of the tourists who earlier had been taking pictures of the library re-entered the room and announced that Mr. H. Arthur Bellows, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University Cottage Club, had arrived for the meeting.
Sir Waynathon welcomed him to the meeting, and asked him to step forward to acknowledge and receive the gift from the Society to Cottage Club.
As Mr. Bellows stepped forward, Viscount William of Sawchman brought forth the picture gift, and joined Sir Waynathon, Sir William the Unconquered, the Shah of Pough! and the rest of the Society in making the presentation.
Mr. Bellows accepted the gift with gracious humor.
Then Sir Waynathon announced that, in honor of the occasion, Mr. Bellows had been elected to the status of honorary member of the Merton Society, and he was to be awarded a medallion and dubbed with the official title of "Sir Arthur the Fulminator, Lord Royal Keeper of Her Majesty's Bellows."
The audience reacted to this event with great approval.
Having made previous commitments, Sir Arthur thanked the Society on behalf of the University Cottage Club and departed, taking one title, one medallion and the memory of a rare and unique experience with him.

Proceed to Part II

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