With bated breath and beating heart he moved toward the Rhetor (by which name the brother who prepared a seeker for entrance into the Brotherhood was known).
"Good!" said the Rhetor quickly, apparently satisfied with this answer.
"No, I considered it erroneous and did not follow it," said Pierre, so softly that the Rhetor did not hear him and asked him what he was saying.
Is that not so?" said the Rhetor, after a moment's pause.
The Rhetor cleared his throat, crossed his gloved hands on his breast, and began to speak.
Of the three objects mentioned by the Rhetor, this last, that of improving mankind, especially appealed to Pierre.
Half an hour later, the Rhetor returned to inform the seeker of the seven virtues, corresponding to the seven steps of Solomon's temple, which every Freemason should cultivate in himself.
"In the seventh place, try, by the frequent thought of death," the Rhetor said, "to bring yourself to regard it not as a dreaded foe, but as a friend that frees the soul grown weary in the labors of virtue from this distressful life, and leads it to its place of recompense and peace."
"Yes, that must be so," thought Pierre, when after these words the Rhetor went away, leaving him to solitary meditation.
The third time the Rhetor came back more quickly and asked Pierre whether he was still firm in his intention and determined to submit to all that would be required of him.
"I must also inform you," said the Rhetor, "that our Order delivers its teaching not in words only but also by other means, which may perhaps have a stronger effect on the sincere seeker after wisdom and virtue than mere words.
He listened to the Rhetor in silence, feeling from all he said that his ordeal was about to begin.