"Love devastates every country where He plants His banner."
In 'Akká I had looked upon the Mystery of Love and of incarnate
Sacrifice. I returned, this vision filling my eyes, blinding me to all lesser
values. This, and the fact that I was so immature both spiritually and in
worldly wisdom, caused me to become, myself, the instrument of the devastation.
But I devastated not my country alone, but others. When, this winter, I
read my diary of 1910, I was crushed with shame, and remained so for weeks,
because of my blind, cruel blundering all through that awful year. Then came a
flash of what I believe to be perception, and this has comforted me. My Lord,
'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who "saw the end" where I saw "only the beginning" (and in
Whose compassionate hands are the lives of all) had, in reality, offered me two
choices: first, my own will; then, His Will--or what appeared to be His Will.
Though I played my small part so miserably, at least I chose the Master's Will.
When in my extremity I still clung desperately to His Will, He released me from
my engagement to Mason Remey. As for "the other man": as I review the whole
drama of my connection with his life, ending in tragedy, it is clear that at
every crisis, something diviner than fate stood between us.
'Abdu'l-Bahá, had another plan for me. And this, I believe, was His
plan from the beginning.
Nothing could have been further from my thought than that I should begin
this volume somewhere off the coast of Ireland! I had expected to begin it in
our new home: a small, very old house on Tenth Street, from the windows of
which, if I lean out just a little way, I can see the tower of the Church of
the Ascension, and even--the rectory!
But there came a Call ...
Ten days ago, on 13 July, I received a letter from Ahmad. To my infinite surprise, for I had only just heard from
the Master, I found it contained a Tablet. These are the words of the
O Thou who art attracted by the Breath of the Holy Spirit!
When thou wert leaving to return to America and this made you sad and unhappy
and you wept, I promised I would summon you again to My Presence. Now I fulfil
that promise. If there is no hindrance and you can travel in perfect joy and
fragrance, you have permission to be present. In this trip there is a
mate wisdom and in it praiseworthy results are hidden.
Upon thee be Bahá'u'l-Abhá.
(signed) Abdul Baha Abbas
In Ahmad's letter was the amazing news that the Master was on His way to London
to attend the Universal Races' Congress which was to open the following week
and last for three days.
"If you can sail in a week," wrote Ahmad, "you will find our Lord in
I leapt over every "hindrance" (and three of them were high walls) and within
the week, with Silvia Gannett, boarded the Lusitania.
Just before I left I broke the news to Percy Grant. He said something
blasphemous--violently--then did something to break my heart.
Well, that is no "hindrance," I thought, I can leave him to her.
He spent the last evening before I sailed with me.
"Don't you want to send a message to the Master?" I asked.
A mocking look came into his face.
"He sent you one," I went on, "from 'Akká, when I was there. But
I have never been able to tell you about it, because whenever I have mentioned
the Master to you, Percy, you have answered in a flippant way. But I can't go
back to Him now until I have delivered it.
"I spoke of your work to Him and He called you 'a great soul'. Then He invited
you to visit Him. I can repeat His very words. 'When you return, say to Dr
Grant: If you will go yourself to 'Akká, you will find that
which is beyond imagining. If you go, you will find all you had
imagined useless in comparison with the Reality. If you go you will receive
that for which you would not exchange all the kingdom of the world.'"
"That was a very whole-souled message," Percy replied. "Tell Him that if He
comes to New York I will welcome Him gladly. Tell Him I think He would find
New York a big enough field even for His great work!"
"I don't think that message will do," I said.
"Tell Him, judging by His fruits," (with a meaningful look at me) "His Teaching
is the most beautiful spiritual force in the world."
"I shall certainly not tell Him that!"
"Tell Him I am very happy to have a share in those fruits--"
"No; nor that either."
"I can't suit you with a message! Well, tell Him I feel that what He is trying
to do in the world is very beautiful and potent."
Then I gave up!
S. S. Lusitania
I should like to write of a dream I had two days before my Tablet came,
for I think it is something that should be kept.
I had been praying at dawn. Afterwards, putting the Master's brown 'abá
over my bed and hoping for a vision, I fell asleep.
I awoke in a vast, dim crypt, with many aisles branching away into utter
darkness. I was standing, alone in the crypt, beside an enormous grey
sarcophagus. Then in
the far, far distance, I saw two figures in white, in long robes and
turbans, walking out of the shadows in my direction, and I recognized the
Master and Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, "the Angel of
'Akká".Something is going to happen; I shouldn't be here, I
thought. But I can't escape now. There is nothing to do but hide. And I
crouched behind the sarcophagus. The next picture in my dream is of the Master
and Mírzá Haydar-'Alí bending over the sarcophagus. Then
they lifted its lid and dropped into it, drawing down the lid after them. Now
I could make my escape! I tried to steal away on tiptoe, but before I had
taken a dozen steps, my shoes creaked! At this, the Master rose from the
centre of the sarcophagus, His face unsmiling--stern.
"You may stay," He said, "but keep perfectly still."
Once more I crouched, holding my breath.
First there was an awful silence; then, from within the sarcophagus, I heard
the strains of a solemn chant; then groans, followed by blood-freezing
screams. And I thought, What can the Master be doing to
But somebody else was in that sarcophagus. The end of it suddenly burst open
and out of it dashed a figure racing up and down so fast that all I could see
were flying garments and a shaven, bluish head with a black fez on it. At
last, exhausted, he sank to his knees on the ground, shielding his face with
one arm. Then he rose and crept back into his coffin.
Then, down every aisle of the crypt came armies on the march, a standard-bearer
with a flag leading each regiment, so that soon all the flags of all the
nations drooped above the sarcophagus as the armies gathered around it. And
then I saw a lovely woman standing
among the flags. She wore a long white tunic, her hair was bright
gold, and she radiated light.
While I watched this brilliant and formidable scene, wondering how
'Abdu'l-Bahá could be concerned with a pageant, the figure with
the bluish head and the fez again broke open the end of the sarcophagus. But
now I saw: Satan himself! Now he was naked, fully exposed, with a white body
and great dark bat's wings springing out from his shoulders--even with the
orthodox tail and hoofs! And now he stole from his hiding place and, like a
serpent--sinuously--wound his way in and out between all the standard-bearers,
creeping under all the flags, wriggling his way among all the armies, all the
The dream changed. I was in New York, in the Peoples' Forum. Percy Grant was
sitting on the platform in the Parish Hall and his mother, Sylvia Gannett, and
I standing among the empty chairs just vacated, I knew, by a large audience. I
bent to kiss Mrs Grant. She looked up, her eyes full of tears.
"I have seen Him," she said, "the Master. He spoke to me. Oh, there
was never such a Face in the world!"
I am still in London, waiting for the Master to come. He did not attend
the Universal Races' Congress. They had asked Him to speak on philosophy and
to make no
reference to religion, so He sent a representative,
Tamaddunu'l-Mulk. (Tamaddunu'l-Mulk is about four feet high and his name means
The Civilization of the Country.)
The three days' conference opened with an ode written by Alice Buckton. Here
is one verse:
They come! Who come? Listen!
What thunderous tread of viewless feet
From citied walls where waters meet,
From isles of coral foam;
From Western prairies red with corn,
From sacred temples of the morn,
True British idealism! The last session ended in a brawl. Annie Besant ("Pa,
with Ma's bonnet on her head," as Mrs Standard called her) took the platform
and hurled the monkey wrench.
"This talk is all very well. But what about India?"
Then--the uproar in crescendo till the very last minute!
When I hear that the Master was not to be at the Congress, I cabled to Him for
instructions. The answer came: "Wait."
9 August 1911
I have just had another cable from our Lord. It says: "Remain."
Here in London a little group is humbly preparing for His coming. Devoted
hearts are waiting for Him. Every night we all gather at dear Miss Jack's and
The English believers have been so kind to me: dear Miss Rosenberg,
dear Mrs Knightley (who calls me "cousin", since we have an ancestor--Lord
Edward Fitzgerald--in common), Mrs Stannard--the most fascinating woman, whom I
met in Beirut two years ago and immediately loved; Lady Blomfield; the Jennens;
Miss Faulkner; Miss Buckton; and others. And our own believers who are here:
Maud Yandall, the Chicago friends with their warm hearts, my beloved Isabel
Fraser, Miss Pomeroy, Rhoda Nichols, Albert Hall and Mountfort Mills. And, of
course, little Tamaddunu'l-Mulk.
(We are on the way to the Master, Tamaddunu'l-Mulk and I, and though we
are sitting up all night long in a second-class coach with a family of four
Swiss peasants--oh, we are so happy!
Oh, tomorrow! But I cannot imagine tomorrow. Tomorrow I shall be
with HiminEurope, in the mountains of Switzerland.
The "Sun of the West" moves toward the West, and, in this majestic advance,
this thrilling moment in time and in eternity, when, in His actual Presence, He
rises and shines on the West, He has blessed and honoured this humble child of
His by calling her to His side. All day, as
[Photograph: A group of Bahá'ís in London (c.
I travelled through France, I seemed to be hastening toward
Him down a path of white radiance.
How strange! It was 13 July, two years ago, when I tore myself, weeping, from
my Lord in 'Akká. It was on 22 August, that I said my heartbroken
goodbye to Him in Haifa. This year, on 13 July, came His Tablet, "summoning"
me again to Him; and this year on 22 August--yesterday--the summons to
Tamaddunu'l-Mulk is asleep. I shall spend the night in prayer. Wonderful
night! More wonderful: the Daybreak!
A great white hotel. At its entrance, two oleander trees in bloom.
Inside, high ceilings, white walls, glass doors, rose-coloured carpets,
rose-coloured damask furniture. Beyond the green terrace with its marble
balustrade, Lake Geneva. Behind the hotel, two mountains overhung with clouds.
In the halls and strolling through the grounds: gay, artificial, dull-eyed
people. Passing among these silently with His indescribable majesty, His
strange Power and His holy sweetness, the
Master--'Abdu'l-Bahá--unrecognized but not unfelt. As He passes,
the dull eyes follow Him, lit up for a moment with wonder.
I found my beloved Laura and her dear husband, Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney,
(It was Laura who gave me the Message, bringing to me the greatest of
gifts in earth and heaven and changing the whole direction of my life.
It happened in this way: I
had been almost fatally ill and was slowly recovering in Washington
when I said one day to my brother, "Coming so close to death makes you think.
And I have been thinking lately that it is time for another Messenger of God."
The very next day Laura burst in on me, taking me by complete surprise, for I
had not heard of her return from Paris. "Yesterday, Juliet," she said, "I was
in Bar Harbor. Tomorrow I sail from New York for Palestine. But I couldn't
sail without first seeing you to tell you why I am making this pilgrimage.
Juliet, the Christ-Spirit is again on earth, and--as before--He is in
During my illness, the night of the crisis--months before Laura came to me--I
actually saw 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In the midst of physical anguish and with
darkness closing down on me, I had felt a great pulsation of love from the head
of my bed and thought that my mother must be sitting there. I turned and,
instead, there sat a Figure built up of light, with a dazzling turban and hair
like a flow of light to His shoulders, and with His hands cupped on His knees.
Jesus is here, I thought peacefully and glided away into sleep. And when I
awoke the crisis was passed. Later my mother said to me: "That night of the
crisis while I was praying I saw a great Light shining beside your bed.")
On the morning of 24 August, on my way to the door of my Lord, I met
the last person on earth I would have looked for, Percy Grant's friend,
"You here!" I gasped. "I always wanted to tell you about this."
"Why didn't you?" he asked.
I left him in a moment, I could not wait, and flew up the long white
hall (blessed hall where His voice and footsteps ring!) till I came to an open
door. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk had already entered. I paused at the door. Then I saw
... saw once more after these years of unspeakable longing: my Father, my
King, and my Beloved.
He was just moving forward in the room, His white robe, His black 'abá
sweeping in lines of strange grace, dominated by that head of immortal majesty.
In an instant I was at His feet.
I have no words to tell it. Can words paint Glory? The smiling Face that
looked down on me then, as though from high heaven? One thing I know: God
always smiles--smiles mysteriously.
"Are you happy, Juliet? Happy to be here? How many years since you were
"You had a long wait in London? When did you arrive? You were put to trouble
"Oh no! Your Presence was with us in London. The friends were very kind to
me. And if I was waiting, it was for You, my Lord."
"Or course the friends were kind. The believers must all serve one another. I
want you to be the first handmaiden of God. I am the believers' first Servant.
You know how I serve them."
I covered my face with my hands, for I realized our littleness and saw Him as
the Word of God.
"How is your mother?" (in English) "Your mother? She is
"She is always good."
"She is pleased with you?"--looking at me archly, knowing quite well
she was not!
"Not very, I'm afraid," I laughed.
"The day will come when she will be pleased with you, when she will be very
proud that you have received such bounty and favour from
"Will it come in her lifetime, Lord?"
"Inshá'lláh!" Then He nodded His head
I had been exhausted when I came, after staying up all night long; I had not
been able even to wash. But suddenly from His Presence I felt Life flowing,
rushing toward me; I felt an electric current revivifying me, and when I went
to my room and looked in the mirror--afraid of what I might see in it I found
that I had a bright colour and my lips were brilliantly red.
(Footnote. When we arrived at Geneva in the early morning a train for
Thonon was just about to start. Not even to wash could I wait for the next
train! There was no time to telephone or send a wire to the Hotel du Parc, so
that, naturally, when we reached Thonon, no one was at the station to meet us.
Nor was there a conveyance of any kind. Only a wheelbarrow! "All right,
Mulk," I said, "we'll take the wheelbarrow. We'll put our luggage on it and
walk behind." "Oh, we couldn't do that!" said the elegant little Persian. "I
can," I replied. And we did--and arrived at the Hotel du Parc on foot behind
I sailed from Vevey today down the Lake of Geneva. There was a heavy
mist and the mountains loomed like phantoms through it. The lake, full of
swans and white sails, gleamed. The Swiss shore was veiled to a tender green,
its chalets and villages blurred like etchings on blotting paper.
From Lausanne I strained my eyes toward Thonon. Then, suddenly the boat turned
and made straight for the French shore. My heart leaped. We were going to
Thonon: Thonon, my Paradise!
Ah, there were the fishnets spread out in the sun; there the grove of trees at
the landing with that brilliant foliage--such a polished green that it looks
wet--and in the dark shade under the trees, the lily-bed; there, there His
hotel, white against the mountains. I could even see the window of His
Eagerly I searched the faces at the landing. Surely little Mulk would be at
the landing, to meet me and take me back to my Lord. It must have been
for this that the boat had docked at Thonon. Hippolyte, Laura perhaps ... No.
There was not one soul I knew.
With unspeakable desolation, with a sense of utter helplessness, I found myself
carried away from Thonon. Heaven was behind me then!
The perspective of the mountains changed. The rowboats rocking on metal waves,
the funicular railway, the grey old house with its shaggy brown roof which
and I had found so interesting--all the familiar landmarks become in
those four full days intensely intimate--receded and were blotted out by the
mist. The hotel only remained, a "White Spot", seeming to grow with the
distance miraculously whiter, flashing its message to me as long as it could;
for, though at last the mist dimmed it, it was not till a physical object
intervened, not till a ridge of the shore came between, that it vanished from
Then came a frantic desire to communicate with Thonon. This cannot, must not
be the last, I thought. I will telephone Hippolyte as soon as I reach
In the Hotel de la Paix I went straight to the phone.
"Ah Juliet!" said Hippolyte's dear voice. "Do you know that the Master will be
in Geneva tomorrow? He wished me to get into touch with you to tell you that
He was coming. And He wishes Edith and her friend, Miss Hopkins, to join you
at your hotel and spend tomorrow night with you. He will arrive with the
Persians in the evening."
To go back to that blissful day in His Presence, to that first lunch
Mr Miller had been invited to lunch and the Master placed him, with me, at the
head of the table, Himself sitting at the corner, I on His right. Our table
was half closed in by big white columns. Mr Miller asked some questions, on
work in and with the Christian Church, on the validity of mystical experiences,
and, at my suggestion (with Percy Grant in my mind) on the economic problem.
The Master was specially vivid and vital that day, yet these words seem so
poor, so human. I can think of Him
only in terms foreign to earth: "The Dawning-Point of Light," "The
From His radiant height of knowledge He gave us great answers, but to put these
into my own language would spoil, would desecrate them. More than one
phrase I repeated to Professor Miller out of sheer delight in its perfection.
He would nod in response with a happy look.
In reply to the question about the church (most important to Mr Miller as he is
considering resigning his chair at Columbia to enter the ministry) the Master
said religion was one truth which the sectarians had divided; however,
the Light can be found everywhere, and it was good to unite with the people,
especially in work for humanity and when one's own motive was pure. He dwelt
on the purity of the motive. All that tended to unite was good; whatever
resulted in division was harmful. I am sorry to repeat only these broken
fragments. His answers were so clear, so brilliant, so simple that you
wondered at your own question. But the words themselves were elusive. Mortal
lips could not frame such phrases, nor mortal ears register them.
As to mystical experiences: most assuredly the saints and mystics had real
experiences. The proof of the experience was its fruit. If the result was
spiritual we might know the experience was from God.
"Ask a question for me," I said to Professor Miller. "I know what the Master
will say, but I want the answer for Dr Grant. He doesn't see the need for the
Bahá'í Teaching. He thinks it a sort of 'Quietism'. He says
that to bring about social progress we must first work along practical
Mr Miller put the question beautifully. "There are some who feel this way," he
ended, "and one man in
particular feels it so strongly that he is making it his
"Such people," replied the Master, "are doing the work of true religion."
Then He went on to explain that a new order must come, but first a solid
foundation must be laid for it, and no foundation was solid enough except
religion, which was the Love of God. Such a basis as the Love of God, He said,
would inevitably result in the rearing of a great Structure of social justice
and individual love and justice.
"These are just the answers," said Professor Miller, "that Dr Grant would
The Master then told him of the Divine Plan for a House of Justice and of the
After lunch we sat in the reception room: a large white room, all mirrors and
glass doors (and rose-coloured furniture), looking out on the lake, the terrace
and the stone balustrade.
In the morning, in the Master's room, I had mentioned my acquaintance with
"I always wanted," I said, "to give him the Message."
"Now I have given him the Message," laughed the Master.
"Now I see why I did not!"
After lunch Mr Miller spoke of his friendship for me.
"Your love must increase from this day," said the Master. Whereupon the
professor, who is very shy, blushed as red as the chair he was sitting on and
looked really frightened. "You must become like brother and sister," our Lord
hastily added, with one more lovely phrase on the future of our spiritual
relationship. As Professor Miller took his leave, he seemed to be deeply
"I shall never forget this day," he said.
The Master put His arms around him, then gave him a good strong slap on the
back and bade him goodbye most lovingly.
When he had gone, the Master turned to me: "Now there is something for
you to do, Juliet! I put him under your charge. There is a chance for
All that day was heavenly. The Master was either in my room with Laura and
Hippolyte, or we were in His, in the most charming informality. He gave us no
spiritual teaching--in words--only talked gaily or tenderly with us. I
had no private interviews: in fact, He took very little notice of me. But in
spite of all this I saw something vaster than I had ever seen before; I felt
His unearthly power, His divine sweetness even more than when I was with Him in
'Akká.Once as He stood on the stairway talking with
Mírzá Asadu'lláh, the sweetness of His Love brought the
tears to my eyes. It is useless to try to express it. But I said to myself as
I looked on that celestial radiance: If He never gave me so much as a word, if
he never glanced my way, just to see that sweetness shining before me, I would
follow Him on my knees, crawling behind Him in the dust forever!
That night (24 August) at dinner, He turned to me smiling and said:
"Did you ever expect, Juliet, to be in Thonon with Me in such a gathering?"
"No indeed I did not! May we all be in just such a gathering with You in New
"I have made a pact with the American friends. If they keep the pact I will
"The believers are much better friends than they were."
"I shall have to know that! Bahá'u'lláh," the Master
continued, "was bound with a chain no longer than the distance from
here to that post." With a sudden terrific agitation He rose and pointed to a
column close to the table. "He could scarcely move. Then He was exiled to
Baghdád, to Adrianople, to Constantinople, to
'Akká--four times! He bore all these hardships that unity might
be established among you. But if, among themselves, the believers cannot
unite, how can they hope to unite the world? Christ said to His disciples:
'Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith
shall it be salted?'"
"It is not Juliet's fault," said Hippolyte.
"No, it is not Juliet's fault. If every one of the believers was like Juliet
there would have been no trouble," said the Master--mercifully.
"If I had done my whole duty I might have accomplished more toward unity."
"I hope you will become perfect.
Inshá'lláh, through the help of
Bahá'u'lláh, you will be perfect. When you return to America,
Juliet, I want you to do your best to bring about unity."
"I will do my utmost to carry out every suggestion you make to me, my Lord. I
will work, not alone for the sake of the believers, but for the sake of others
who would follow You if they could see You."
"Had it not been for these divisions," said our Lord, "the Cause would have
made great progress by now in America."
The next day, 25 August, was intensely interesting. Early in the
morning He called me into His room, with Tamaddunu'l-Mulk as interpreter.
"Are you happy, Juliet?"
"So happy and so at rest. This is the happiness of the Kingdom."
He asked me about the election of the new Board in New York. I told Him what I
could and that I had brought a letter explaining.
"Is Mr Hoar on the Board? Mr MacNutt?"
"I don't know, my Lord. I sailed before the election."
Then I spoke of how Mr MacNutt had been forced out of everything. If he were not on this new Board, which had
been organized by his friends, it was, I felt sure, by his own choice. He
thinks of himself as a stumbling block to harmony and now keeps out of the
"I proposed this change Myself," said the Master, "in order that he might
serve on the Board." Then He laughed, with that wonderful gleam of humour in
His face. "All these Boards and committees: of what importance are they? The
really important thing is to spread the Cause of God. I am not on any
committee. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk and Mr Dreyfus," (for Hippolyte had just come in)
"are not on any committee!"
"Speak to Me, Juliet."
My heart was too full. I could not. After a moment I said: "May I sit on the
"But you will be tired."
I sat on the floor at His feet.
"This is like 'Akká," I said, looking up at that matchless Face. Then,
to surprise Him, in Persian: "Man
dúst dáram." (I love You very, very much.)
Taking my hand and pressing it, smiling down at me, He said something in
Persian to Mulk.
"What is He saying?" I asked.
"He is praising you very much. He says that your heart is pure. He Himself
bears witness to this. He is your witness. He proves your heart
to be pure." (Mulk had already told me of all the slanderous letters about me
received by the Master.) "If He says this it makes no difference what
the people say."
The Master spoke again to Tamaddunu'l-Mulk.
"He says He sent for you out of pure affection. It was nothing but affection.
There was no other motive in His sending for you." Mulk had told the Master
how badly I felt about my broken engagement to Mason Remey. "He had promised
to send for you again and He thought that while He was in Europe would be a
good opportunity, that you could come to Europe more easily than to
"Beg Him to so fill me up with His Love that I may express my gratitude for
this affection by true service in America."
"He says that you are already full of love for Him and when you return to
America you will serve Him; that your attraction in this Cause and your
devotion to it are in themselves service."
"I feel that I have failed in all I undertook to do when I last left Him. I
have had great lessons in my own weakness."
"The Master says your weakness will be turned into strength."
"You will be strong--strong," said the Master directly
to me in English, "and when you go back this time you will have a
Letters were brought to Him and He talked of various things. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk
handed Him a booklet of Warwick Castle, where, at the invitation of the
Countess of Warwick, the members of the Races' Congress had spent a day--we
with them, of course. The Master laughed, pushed the book away and gave Mulk a
"What do I care about it?" He asked. "If a good believer lived in it, that
would be different! Once, when I lived in Baghdád," He went on,
"I was invited to the house of a poor thorn-picker. In Baghdád
the heat is greater even than in Syria; and it was a very hot day. But I
walked twelve miles to the thorn-picker's hut. Then his wife made a little
cake out of some meal for Me and burnt it in cooking it, so that it was a
black, hard lump. Still that was the best reception I ever attended."
I had two more private talks with our Lord that morning. In the second,
something I said brought forth this answer: "The child does not realize the
parents' love, but when it becomes mature it knows." He said this looking out
of the window and His face was very sad.
"Can the creature," I asked, "ever know the Love of the Creator?"
"Yes. If not in this world, then in the next, as a sleeper wakens."
It was during my third visit to Him that I spoke of the Holy Household, spoke
of each beloved one with tears in my eyes. His own kindled with the warmest
love as He answered: "They too love you, Juliet, and always talk of
you--especially Munavvar. It is always 'Juliet, Juliet.'"
At noon that day we had royalty to lunch! Bahrám
Mírzá of Persia. Prince Bahrám's father is
Zillu's-Sultán, who, as the eldest son of Násiri'd-Dín
Sháh, would have succeeded to the throne but that his mother was
not of royal blood. It was though the orders of Násiri'd-Dín
Sháh that the Báb was executed and thousands of
Bábís massacred, while through Zillu's-Sultán's orders
those two great Bahá'ís, "The King of the Martyrs" and "The
Beloved of the Martyrs", and at least a hundred others, met horrifying deaths.
Now the whole royal family is in exile, Zillu's-Sultán and his sons in
Geneva, while 'Abdu'l-Bahá walks free in Thonon--so near!
The day before I arrived, Zillu's-Sultán came over to Thonon for a few
hours, and straight to the Hotel du Parc.
Hippolyte Dreyfus, when he was in Persia, had met this Prince, had visited him
in his tent while he--the prince--was on a hunting trip. And now he met him
again on the terrace of the hotel. The Master too was on the terrace, pacing
up and down at a little distance. Hippolyte was standing in the doorway when
he saw Zillu's-Sultán coming up the steps. The prince approached and
greeted him, then turned a startled look toward the Master.
"Who is that Persian nobleman?" he asked.
"That," answered Hippolyte, "is 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
And now Zillu's-Sultán spoke very humbly.
"Take me to Him," he begged.
Hippolyte told me all about it: "If you could have seen the brute,
Juliet, mumbling out his miserable excuses! But the Master took him in His
arms and said: 'All those things are in the past. Never think of them again.'
Then He invited Zillu's-Sultán two sons to spend a day with Him."
And so it was that Prince Bahrám came to lunch.
A beautiful boy--Prince Bahrám--like a Persian miniature. His skin is
as smooth as ivory, his straight features finely chiselled, his eyebrows meet
in a thin, black line across His nose. But being so young he is wholly
unawakened spiritually, and he hasn't any manners at all! After lunch,
assuming the privileges of a royal prince and Muslim, he stalked out of the
room ahead of Laura and me--when the Master, in spite of our protests, had
insisted on our preceding Him. However the Master said later:
"Bahrám Mírzá bad níst," (Prince
Bahrám is not bad) so I can afford to be tolerant!
After lunch, returning to the white- and rose-coloured room, the Master placed
me on His left and the prince on His right and we all had coffee. The coffee
was served first to the prince. To my great surprise he rose and offered his
cup to me. Too completely disarmed, I immediately "bent over backward",
"Won't you keep it?" I asked.
"No," he replied solemnly, "it has two lumps of sugar in it. I don't like two
lumps of sugar."
Neither did I!
At three o'clock, after bidding prince Bahrám goodbye, we did
the most amazing thing: the Master, Laura, Hippolyte, and I went for an
"Did you ever think, Juliet," said the Master, laughing, as we got
into the car with Him, "that you and Laura would be riding in an automobile
with Me in Europe?"
We drove to a country inn where a little later, after a walk, we were to have
our tea. As the Master stepped down from the car, about fifteen peasant
children with bunches of violets to sell closed in on Him, formed a half circle
around Him, holding up the little purple bunches, raising their eyes to His
Face with grave astonishment. They pressed so close that they hid Him below
the waist, and the benediction in the look He bent on them I shall never
forget. Of course He bought all the violets, drawing from His pocket handfuls
of francs. But when He had given to each child bountifully, they held out
their hands for more!
"Don't let them impose!" cried Laura.
"Tell them," said the Master very gently, "that they have taken."
He turned and walked into the forest, followed by Laura, Hippolyte, and me.
Hippolyte had told Him of "the Devil's Bridge" deeper down in the forest, a
place celebrated for its beauty, and the Master wanted to see it. His
excitement over beauty is wonderful to watch and perfectly heartrending when
you think of His long, long life in prison. He--our Lord--led us to the
Devil's Bridge! I can see Him now, just ahead of us, the white robe, the black
'abá, the white turban, the beautiful sway of His walk among the
"What is it," I said to Laura, "that makes that stride of the Master's so
unique? Its absolute freedom?"
Laura found she couldn't walk as far as the Devil's Bridge, so I waited in the
woods with her, both of us
seated on a rock, while Hippolyte followed our Lord. When they returned, the Master sat down on another rock
and beckoned me to His side. So close to Him, the fragrance of His Divinity
enveloped me and I realized at least something of the moment's sacredness.
Just in this way the disciples of nearly two thousand years ago must have sat
with their Lord to rest. The sunlight through the trees made their leaves
translucent, but even against that green glassiness, the Master's clear profile
shone, like a lighted alabaster lamp.
We walked back to the inn through the woods, He leading us. As soon as He
reappeared on the lawn of the inn the children again swarmed around Him, their
hands still outstretched. Laura sternly ordered them off, for they were
certainly imposing. "He would give away everything He has," she whispered to
me. But the Master had discovered a tiny newcomer, a child much younger than
the others, with a very sensitive face, who was looking wonderingly at Him.
"But," He said, "to this little one I have not given."
We went into the inn (after the Master had given to the "little one") and had
tea on the porch, sitting at a rough pine table on a rough bench--two
mountains, with evergreens climbing them, towering above us. The inn was in
the cleft between. At another table sat a man who could not keep his eyes off
the Master and at last ventured to speak to Him, opening the conversation by
saying that he had lived in Persia. Our Lord called him over to sit with
us--which he almost leaped to do--then invited him to come to Thonon.
Again, when we left the inn, the children swarmed around the Master
and again Laura tried to save Him from their greediness.
"But here," said our Lord, "is a boy to whom I have not given."
"You gave to them all," said Laura.
"Call Hippolyte," ordered the Master. "I did not give to this boy, did I,
"I believe you did not."
Then the Master gave.
In the years to come they will tell stories along the Lake of Geneva of the
visit of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Thonon. Then those little children, perhaps
old men and women by that time, remembering a Face like a great dream at the
dawn of their lives, may ask one another: "Was it He?"
Driving home, we came to the most spectacular waterfall, foaming down
a black precipice. The Master peremptorily stopped the car and with a sort of
excitement got out of it; then walked to the very edge of the precipice. After
standing there for some time, His eyes fixed on that long, shining torrent,
which seemed to be shaking off diamonds in a fury, He seated Himself on a rock
hanging over the deep abyss. I can still see that Figure of quiet Power
perilously poised above the precipice, that still, rapt Face delighting in some
secret way in the beauty of the waterfall. Tears came to Laura's eyes and
During the whole drive He was always discovering lovely things and
with vivid animation pointing them out to us: the bright green of the fields
and hills, the neat villages, a spire rising from a cluster of Swiss houses, or
from some lonely spot on a mountain. A tiny village, high among the peaks,
caught His eye.
"How can the people there stand the winter? It must," He said with the
tenderest sympathy, "be too severely cold for them."
It was just after we left the waterfall that the Master turned, smiling, to me.
"If I come to America, Juliet, will you invite Me to see such waterfalls?"
"I will invite You to Niagara if You will come to America! But surely, my
Lord, Your coming doesn't depend on my invitation."
"My invitation to America will be the unity of the believers."
"Louise Stapfer asked me to give You her love and beg You to come and unite us.
Otherwise, she said, we will never be united."
"No, you must do that yourselves. See in what perfect harmony we are now! You
are not complaining of one another. But if I should go to America they would
all be complaining of one another and ..." (He laughed and made a lively
gesture with His hands) "I would fly away!"
Once, breaking a silence, He said: "There was no one in the world who loved
trees and water and the country so much as Bahá'u'lláh."
So sad was His voice that it was like a sigh and I seemed to feel what He was
thinking. He was free at last to travel about the world and see all the
nature, which He too loved, while the Blessed Beauty had lived for
long years walled up in that treeless city, 'Akká, and died still
A little later I spoke: "If only, like the disciples of Christ, we could
follow You everywhere, all through our lives."
The Master beamed brightly on me. "We are together now. Be happy in the
present," He said.
I mentioned my dream about the crypt and asked if I might tell it to Him, but
it sounded so awfully queer as I told it that Laura, Hippolyte, and I began to
laugh; and the Master's own face twitched a little, I thought. However He
said: "You must not laugh at this dream," and asked me to go on telling it.
But just as I came to the end, our car drew up at the gate of a ruined castle
and we all got out and walked over to look at it. After this I was sure I
would hear no more of my dream, but as soon as we were settled in the car again
the Master reopened the subject.
"You must write down that dream, Juliet," He said.
"I have written it, my Lord."
"Ah, Khaylí khúb!" (Very
Then He said something to Hippolyte, laughing, and with those vivid gestures of
His, continued to talk for some time. What He said I couldn't catch--I know
such a tiny bit of Persian--but Hippolyte told me afterward, rather
reluctantly! that the Master was speaking about dreams. He had laughed at
Hippolyte because he did not believe in them and had explained that there were
three kinds of dreams: dreams that come from some bodily disorder, symbolic
dreams, and those in which future events are clearly foretold. When the soul
is in a state of
perfect purity it is able, He said, to receive a direct revelation
from God. Otherwise, it sees in symbols.
Then He told us the story of a man, a Christian, who had visited Him in
'Akká and expressed his disbelief in dreams.
"But," said the Master, "your own Sacred Writings mention such things."
Still the man remained sceptical. A few months later, however, he reappeared
in 'Akká, sought the presence of the Master, and immediately fell at His
feet and attempted to kiss His hand, which the Master will never allow.
"In the Name of Bahá'u'lláh, let me kiss Your hand," pleaded the
Christian. He then went on to confess that now he did believe in dreams. He
had learned, he said, through a sorrowful experience that the Master had spoken
the truth to him.
One night when he was away from home he had had an alarming dream of his little
daughter. She had come to him, sat on his knee and complained that her head
ached. Rapidly she grew worse. They sent for the doctor. The father knew in
his dream that she was hopelessly ill and felt the most acute anguish. Then he
saw her die.
The following night he returned to his home and his daughter came and sat on
his knee. "Father," she said, "my head aches." Then followed her illness, her
"As the mind has the power when awake to think constructively or to dissipate
its powers uselessly, so, when the body is asleep, it can either construct or
dream meaningless dreams."
"When the body is asleep," I asked, remembering a theory, "can the mind
construct at will?"
"No, no," said the Master.
As we drove toward Thonon, the sunset flooded the sky with glory.
Behind the immortal head of the Master rose amethyst mountains, their summits
hidden in rolling fiery clouds. But that Godlike head surpassed both clouds
and mountains in grandeur.
Entering the town we passed a stone wall with an enormous sign painted on
it--an advertisement for chocolate--the letters so big that the sign was a
With one of His swift changes, the Master, rippling with amusement, pointed to
"What is that?" He asked.
When Hippolyte explained. He burst out laughing.
"Is chocolate so important in Thonon?"
While I sat at His feet that evening He sang a song to me, looking
down at me with eyes of glory.
"Beloved Juliet! My heart! My soul! My Spirit! My heaven!
Your heart for Me, your breast for Me!
Always for Me, always for Me!
Your eyes for me, your mind for Me,
Always for Me!
Your soul for Me, your spirit for Me,
Always for Me, always for Me!
Your blood for Me, your blood for Me,
Your blood for Me!"
What does He mean by my blood for Him?Am I to die for Him? I
The Master had made a lovely plan for the next day: we were all to go to Vevey
with Him to visit Mrs Sander-
son and Edith, but--we missed
the boat! Although we were terribly disappointed, this was as nothing compared
to the nightmare that followed. Annie Boylan arrived from Lausanne about ten o'clock, completely
surprising us, as we had no idea that she was in Europe.
She came into the Dreyfuses' room--where Hippolyte, Laura, and I were
sitting--in a state of suppressed fury and almost immediately boiled over with
the most revolting slander against Mr MacNutt. This, she said, she
intended to lay before the Master to prove that Mr MacNutt was unfit to serve
the Cause. She had made the trip to Thonon especially for this purpose!
But the Master did not appear, and I thought of His words the day before: "If
I should go to America they would all be complaining of one another and I would
fly away." He had flown!
Hours passed and still no word from the Master, till lunchtime. Then Mulk
brought a message from Him asking us to excuse Him, He was not well enough to
lunch with us but would see us later.
It was not until five o'clock that He came to the Dreyfuses' door. He looked
very tired and worn. After greeting Annie Boylan lovingly, He took a seat by
the window and told her He had a message for the believers in New York which He
wished her to convey to them. I wrote His words down as He spoke them.
"In this Cause," He said, "hundreds of families have sacrificed themselves.
There have been more than twenty thousand martyrs. The breast of His Highness
was riddled by dozens of bullets; Bahá'u'lláh suffered
years and years in prison; and We have had all these difficulties and borne all
these trials that the canopy of Oneness might be uplifted in the world of
humanity, that Love and Unity might be established amongst mankind, until all
countries become as one country, all religions be merged into one religion, all
the continents be connected and between all hearts a perfect understanding and
love may appear.
"The people of Bahá must be the cause of uniting all the nations. They
must dispel inharmony and dispute. So now we must consider deeply how the
Bahá'ís must really be, what characteristics they must have and
what actions they must perform.
"And if there is not this love and harmony among Bahá'íshow can they cause it to appear among the inhabitants of the earth? How
can an ill man nurse others? How could a pauper give wealth to others? So the
first thing the Bahá'ís must do is to feel love and unity in
their hearts before they can spread it among others.
"Is it possible to conceive that all the troubles, all the trials of
Bahá'u'lláh and the martyrs have been without result? Surely you
will not have it so! If you would all act entirely in accordance with the
Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh no discord would ever appear. Then all
disagreements will vanish, and be certain that the pavilion of Unity will be
hoisted in the world of man.
"Each nation, each people that has understood and felt the Love of God has
progressed and developed, but where discord has sprung up in the midst of a
nation, that nation has been dispersed.
"I know you would not have all these trials and dif-
ficulties produce nothing. Therefore I am waiting and expecting to
hear that love and harmony have blossomed in the hearts of all the
Bahá'ís in America.
"Now the Bahá'ís must be occupied in spreading the Cause of God
and furthering the instructions of Bahá'u'lláh, and not spend
their time in disputing with one another. If they do the first, all will be
happy; they will be assisted by the Breath of the Holy Spirit and become the
beloved of His Heart."
While the Master was speaking Annie Boylan continued to bristle, jarring the
whole room as she seethed with her bottled-up "proof", which now of course she
dare not "lay before the Master". She couldn't even mention Mr MacNutt! I saw
her as an embodiment of the discord in New York, and those terrific vibrations,
blasting into the Master's happy holiday (the first one in all His life),
nearly killed me. I listened really in torture.
Suddenly the Master turned to me.
"What is the matter, Juliet? Are you not happy?"
I answered in Persian that I was unhappy.
"You must be happy," He said, "that you are going back to New York to serve
When Annie Boylan had gone, the Master came into my room. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk was
with me and we placed a chair for Him by the window, from which He could see
the dark sweep of the mountains. I said it had torn me to pieces to hear the
jangle of discord in His Presence.
"I know," He answered, "and that was the reason I told you to be happy, for you
were returning to serve Me. I meant that you were returning to work for
"Oh my Lord," I said, "wasn't it Abraham who prayed to the Lord to save Sodom
and Gomorrah for the
sake of five righteous men?
Now," I laughed, "I am going to be like Abraham and beg You to come to America
for the sake of just a few, for some will never understand."
The Master, too, laughed--such humour in His eyes.
"If it were not so long a trip: if it were a little trip, like Paris, or
London, or Vienna, I would come for your sake," he said tenderly. "But when I
come it must be for a long visit. I am going to Chicago, to Washington, and
even to California, and I have not the time this year. But I will
come--Inshálláh!--when the moment
He spoke of Mr MacNutt. "The reason I suggested this new election," He said,
"was that Mr MacNutt might serve on the Board again. But do not tell anybody
this; it would only stir up a quarrel. However, go directly to Mr MacNutt and
tell him I said this. He is not on this Board, but next year something must be
done so that he may be elected. I have," He concluded, " a very great
affection for Mr MacNutt."
Hippolyte told me that night that if the Master felt well enough we
would go to Vevey on Sunday and that after he had waked the Master he would
wake me at seven o'clock. But it was the Master who woke us all! At six came
a rap at my door and I heard His dear voice.
"I want to go!" He said in English. Then I heard Him down the hall calling
"Mademoiselle!" at the door of Tamaddunu'l-Mulk: little "Civilization of the
Country", who has taken to corsets lately to improve his figure.
Oh, that day; that day!
We drove to the boat all together--nine of us--in a big
station wagon, the Master placing me opposite Him. At the landing is
a dense grove of trees--I think I have already mentioned it--with
polished-looking leaves and very dark shade under them; in the shade a bank of
white lilies and close to the lilies a bench. The Master asked Laura and me to
sit on the bench with Him. Soon, however, He rose and went off alone and for a
while we lost sight of Him. When we saw Him again He was walking on the bench,
behind fishnets hung out to dry.
Laura touched my hand. "See where He is, Juliet," she said.
"Yes: on the shore of a lake--behind fishnets. Oh, Laura!"
He walked slowly on, looking almost transparent in the early-morning sunlight,
till He came to the edge of the grove. There He turned inland and walked among
the trees. Through their leaves, the sun flecked His bronze 'abá with
fiery spots dazzled on His turban and His long silver hair and drew a crystal
line, like a halo, down His profile to His feet. A child, light as a fairy,
glistening in her white dress, danced up a path to His left. Our Lord stopped
for a moment to watch her. Then, mysteriously, He vanished! We saw the boat
coming closer, closer, and looked around wildly for the Master. Where and
how had He disappeared so quickly?
On the landing we found Him waiting for us, and followed Him to the gangplank.
All the people on the landing stared at Him as He moved quietly forward with
that strange power and that holy sweetness. Children raised their eyes to His
face. He put out a tender hand and caressed their heads.
We gathered around Him on the boat, Laura, the Persians, and I, and for a while
He sat silent and grave in our midst. Then suddenly He turned and smiled at
"You never dreamed, Juliet," He said, "that you would be with Me in a
"I have often dreamed that I was with You in a boat!"
"But you never thought it would be fulfilled in this way!"
"No," I smiled. "I never did. I couldn't have imagined this!"
To be with Him in a boat on this lake so like the Sea of Galilee! He sat with
His bronze 'abá around Him, His hands hidden in its full sleeves, so
that the sleeves with their straight, massive folds looked like great wings.
The mist-veiled Alps were His background and His Majesty so dominated them that
they appeared as no more than a filmy drop-curtain. The mist thickened, almost
blotting out the mountains, blending them into the lake, and I felt that we had
left earth with Him and our boat was sailing through ether. Just as I was
thinking this, He said: "Others are passing from an immortal to a mortal
kingdom, but the Bahá'ís are journeying, in the Ark of the
Covenant, from a mortal to an immortal world. The Jews once turned to the
Kingdom, but when they looked backward to mortal things, they became dispersed.
Then Christ led men to the Kingdom; their signs have remained. God be praised
that now you are on a Ship bearing you to immortal worlds. Day by day your
signs will become clearer."
Later the Persians brought Him tea and when He had finished I begged to "drink
from His cup". Mírzá Rafí', adding some water to the
kettle, poured out a cup for me.
The Master turned and smiled at me; then He laughed. "The tea for Me, the
water for Juliet!" He said.
I am sure the future will adore Him also for His humour. The joy of His spirit
overflows in the most
delicious humour and gives Him a look of unconquerable youth.
"O Son of Delight!" I have just seen this phrase in the Hidden Words.
The Master is all delight.
On 3 September 1909 after leaving the Holy Presence in Haifa, I sailed
from Naples. Here I am again on 3 September 1911. These strangely repetitious
dates! Tonight, as I saw that great pile of beauty, Naples, rising, jewelled
with lights, against the clear rose of the afterglow--as I heard the voices of
singers in the distance--how vivid were my memories of 'Akká, Haifa; of
the Master there! It is midnight now and I am too tired to write, but tomorrow
I will tell they story of our day in Vevey.
4 September 1911
We arrived at Vevey. Edith was waiting on the landing and we drove with
her to the hotel. There, we went straight to the room reserved by her for the
Master. To my joy He called me to sit beside Him.
Mrs Sanderson (Edith's mother) has never been attracted to the Cause. She has
felt like my own dear mother about it, not caring at all for most of the
believers! But she could not take her eyes from the Master's face. "His
beautiful face!" she whispered to me. Two of Edith's friends came in, Miss
Hopkins and Miss Norton.
Miss Hopkins is a Catholic, Miss Norton an agnostic. Miss Norton, when she saw
the Master, seemed to be
strangely overcome. Her face trembled, her eyes widened, as though
she were looking at a spirit. I thought that at any moment she would burst our
She and Mrs Sanderson brought up the question of immortality (which Mrs
Sanderson feels it is cowardly to believe in) and I wrote down the Master's
answer as Mulk translated it. Here it is, though I hate to give it in Mulk's
poor English. Edith understands Persian. "You cannot imagine," she said to
me, "how ruinous the translation is. The Master puts life into every word.
Translated, the words sound flat. Besides, the Persian is so rich and He has a
way of saying the same thing over differently, in various poetic forms and with
subtle shades of meaning. In the translation it is all alike."
"Christ and all the Prophets have taught in their Holy Books the
immortality of the soul.
"Jesus during His life had so many afflictions and no happiness or comfort and
in the end He was crucified. If there were no immortality to follow, then
nothing could be more useless than such a life.
"Take, for example, the life of Hannibal. In the world we would find none
happier than he, for his life was one of pleasure and conquest and he triumphed
wherever he desired. But Jesus had many afflictions. Were there no
immortality we might say that Jesus was not even rational. But at the hour of
His crucifixion, He knew He was leaving the mortal for the immortal life; He
knew He was leaving the physical to ascend to the spiritual world. When they
put on His head the crown of thorns, He thought of the crown of the Kingdom.
While He was hanging on the cross He thought of the eternal throne.
"But now we come to the proofs. Those who do not believe in immortality have
some proofs. For example,
one is this. They divide existence into two kinds; imaginary
existence and that of the senses. They say that since the immortal kingdom is
not of the senses there can be no such kingdom. This is their proof! By this
proof they deny!
"But Jesus and Bahá'u'lláh answer the people who do not believe
thus: Every rational man can see that the world has come out of non-existence
into existence. Life progresses from the mineral kingdom to the vegetable
kingdom, from the vegetable to the animal, and from thence to the human
kingdom. Were there no spiritual kingdom, life would be useless.
"For example: We plant a tree, we water and care for it. From branches we see
it advance to leaf and from leaf to fruit. Should the fruit be opened and
found to contain nothing, all would be useless. So the people of common sense,
studying the universe, see that creation must have a result.
"The people of the world say: 'Where is the immortal world? When we look
about us we do not see it. We only see the world of elements.' Therefore the
Prophet says: 'Those in the station below cannot see the station above.' We
are in this room, we cannot see beyond the ceiling. We are downstairs, we
cannot see upstairs.
"For example: The mineral kingdom has no knowledge of the vegetable kingdom.
The vegetable kingdom knows nothing of the animal kingdom. Nor is it possible
that it should know of the animal, because it--the vegetable--is of a lower
grade; the animal is in the higher condition. If the vegetable kingdom deny
the existence of the animal kingdom, does this disprove the animal kingdom's
existence? No, the animal kingdom exists, but the vegetable kingdom cannot
imagine the reality of it. The reason the vegetable kingdom cannot
animal kingdom is because it cannot comprehend it. But this
does not disprove its existence.
"Now we come to the human kingdom. In the human kingdom is an intellectual
power not possessed by the animal kingdom. The animal cannot imagine this
power. A Spaniard discovered America. The animal could not understand this.
The intellectual power is not disproved because it is not understood.
"As to the spiritual kingdom: An unborn child cannot understand this world.
It cannot imagine a world beyond the womb. If we could tell an unborn child
that there is another world, with mountains, villages, cities--so many
beautiful things--could he understand? Never! Therefore Christ said one must
be born a second time. As a child, by coming to this world, understands the
conditions here, so we should go to the spiritual world to understand its
conditions. The Prophets were born in the spiritual condition to understand
the immortal world.
"For example: The unborn child would deny the existence of this world for the
reason that he knows nothing of it and the best condition to him is the world
of the womb, the best food his nourishment there. He could not visualize this
world. But when he is born and arrives at understanding, he sees what a
beautiful world this is.
"So with the spiritual kingdom. The people of this world cannot comprehend the
conditions of that immortal world, but, when they reach it, they see that this,
in comparison, is just like the world of the womb. The unborn child says:
'This is the best world. I am quite satisfied with it. I must not leave
The Master turned suddenly to me. "Do you understand all this,
Juliet? I want you to know these things very well when you return to
I had been saying to myself: Oh, Mrs Sanderson, look at the Master
and see Immortality!
The next question--Mrs Sanderson's--was about divorce, if
Bahá'u'lláh approved of it.
"Bahá'u'lláh,"--the Master smiled--"says that in this world there
is nothing more absurd than divorce. If one has accepted another and is a good
Bahá'í he never likes to believe in divorce. But if there be a
case of difference between husband and wife, where it is entirely impossible to
recreate their love, where it is not possible for them to live any longer with
one another, then both should go to the House of Justice and together, in
perfect agreement, lay their case before it. And after this they should still
wait a year, living apart but not permanently divorced, and their friends
should give them good advice meanwhile. If, after one year, there is no
possibility of becoming reunited, and no one is able to influence them, then
this is the natural divorce.
"But between the real Bahá'ís there is no divorce. No one has
ever heard of divorce between real Bahá'ís. The
Bahá'í husband and wife will not allow affairs to reach such a
Luncheon was announced and Miss Hopkins and Miss Norton rose to go. As Miss
Hopkins bade the Master goodbye He said: "I will pray for you."
"And I will pray for you too," she answered.
This gave me a shock. At the table Mrs Sanderson spoke of it, saying that her
own feelings had been "outraged" by it.
"No," replied the Master, "do not feel that way. It came from the heart;
therefore it was beautiful."
I shall never forget the way He said "beautiful".
The Master had asked me to sit by Him at lunch. He was on the right of Mrs
Sanderson, who sat at the head
of the table. He talked with the gentlest love to her. Soon she
brought up the name of Lua and then asked me: "Have you heard from Lua lately,
"I love Lua," she added.
"My mother loves Lua too."
"Your mother," the Master turned to me, in His voice that ineffable
tenderness with which He always mentions Mamma.
"I wish my mother were here with Edith's mother."
"I shall see your mother."
I tried to speak a little Persian to Him and He helped me to construct
the phrases. He had told me a day or two before that I must be sure to study
Persian. "You see," He had said, "I can talk with Laura."
Lunch over, the Master went to His room to rest, after stopping in the
hall for a moment to meet an old French lady, Madame Naber. Everyone scattered
then and, finding myself alone, I slipped through a side door into the garden;
and there on a stone bench sat Madame Naber and Mrs Sanderson, their white
heads close together. They didn't see me at first.
"Il a l'air si bon, si simple," Madame Naber was saying.
"Oui, et les yeux de feu!" said Mrs Sanderson.
Then they looked up and smiled at me and Mrs Sanderson said: "Wouldn't you
like to see the view from the terrace, Juliet?"
I took the hint and walked over to the terrace, from which you can get the most
marvellous view of the lake and the mountains on the further side.
Imagine my astonishment to find, sitting in the shade of a tree, Mrs
Griscomb and Professor Mitchell of the Church of the Ascension!
Mr Griscomb and the Professor have been for some time vestrymen of the Church
and have always actively opposed The Peoples' Forum, which is Percy Grant's
chief interest. "My capitalists" Percy calls them. They are also Theosophists
and have a very select group of their own, never mingling with the big ordinary
group! But I was glad to see them just because they were from the church, and
flew over to speak to Mrs Griscomb. She is a plump, pretty little woman with
at least two professors and a husband at her feet. Professor Mitchell is sort
of willowy and has a walrus moustache and, on his thin aloof nose, pince-nez
with a wide black string.
"Why!" exclaimed Mrs Griscomb when she caught sight of me. "What are you doing
"I have come from Thonon with 'Abdu'l-Bahá to lunch with the Sandersons.
Do you know Mrs Sanderson, Mrs Griscomb? Won't you let me introduce you?"
"I should prefer to talk with you."
A little surprised, afraid I had made some blunder, though I couldn't imagine
what, I hastily explained. "I asked on the impulse of the moment because it
would be such a joy to present you to 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
"Thanks, I'm not at all crazy to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
The silly, insulting little answer went straight through my heart like a
"I'm glad, however," she added, "if He gives you pleasure."
"Mrs Griscomb," I said, 'Abdu'l-Bahá is creating unity all through the
world among all races and religions, which is a far more important thing than
giving anyone personal happiness."
"I am one of those who do not decry personal happiness; and
really I don't want to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
"You will see Him," I said as I moved away, "and then you may regret
By that time the Master was up and receiving the friends in His room. I rushed
to the refuge of His Holy Presence. I was tingling all over, actually
suffering physically from the blow of Mrs Griscomb's flippant blasphemy. As I
entered the Master's room He sent me a searching glance but said nothing. And
of course I said nothing, till I had a chance to talk to Edith.
A little later in the afternoon, Edith, her mother, Laura, and I sat
on the terrace with the Master. Mrs Griscomb and the Professor were no longer
there, but, Edith said, they were watching from their windows, Professor
Hargrove standing beside them. Professor Hargrove, whom Percy calls "his
mystic", is staying with the Griscombs in Vevey. They have a garden apartment
in the hotel where they even eat their meals, associating with no one. It is
understood they are very busy studying occultism and must not be interrupted in
their search for Truth!
The whole thing is extraordinary. It was through Professor Mitchell that
Dickinson Miller was brought to Percy Grant's church. Now both professors come
to Switzerland and are drawn to the neighbourhood, even to the Presence, of
"the Dawning-Point of Divine Knowledge." How different the reactions of
the two! In Professor Miller, at least a timid response, a peeping out of the
soul. In Professor Mitchell: a back turned superciliously!
Professor Mitchell, Professor Miller, and Percy Grant belonged about four years
ago to a sort of club, where,
with other professors of Columbia University they met to discuss
religion. Professor Mitchell, whose memory is very accurate, wrote reports of
those meetings and published them in book form. The book is extremely
interesting. All through it the note is sounded that a great new Light is
shining upon the world.
It ends something like this: "The Mathematician, left alone after the
departure of his guests, goes to the window. In his ears ring the words of the
Clergyman: 'The rebirth of the Christ in the whole of humanity is close at
hand.' The Mathematician looks up at the stars and the vision of John on
Patmos occurs to him. 'Even so,' he whispers, 'come quickly, Lord Jesus.'"
"The Mathematician" is Professor Mitchell and "the Clergyman", Percy Grant.
And if this is not tragic, then I don't know what is!
Edith drove down to the landing with us to meet the boat, which was to
take us back to Thonon. But, as we were early, the Master proposed our waiting
in a nearby garden. There, on a bench under a tree, Laura, Edith, and I sat
beside Him, while the Persians stood around us. One of them mentioned
Barakatu'lláh, whereupon the Master turned to me with such a funny look
of accusation! His eyebrows went up and His eyes laughed. In my confusion I
dropped my gloves and He stooped to pick them up, which completely
"Oh my Lord, don't!" I gasped.
At last the boat came. The Master stayed on deck for a short time, during
which I kept very quiet, not wishing to speak; wishing only to fix in my mind
that Godlike head with the Alps for its background. Then he went off to
After He had gone, a man who was sitting close to us
spoke to Mírzá Rafí'. "May I ask who that
gentleman is?" he said. "I am very much attracted to His face."
"'Abdu'l-Bahá a Persian exile," answered Mírzá
Rafí'--too reticently, it seemed to me.
"I thought He might be the sultan's brother, who, I hear is living in
He evidently meant Zillu's-Sultán! As he continued to ask questions,
Laura gave the Message very ably. Beside the man sat a boy of about sixteen,
with fair, curly hair and the face of a Botticelli angel. He leaned forward
and listened eagerly.
Later the Master came out from His cabin, but the man and the boy had left the
boat at Eviens.
The Master called me to sit by Him, Mulk sitting on the other side.
"Are you tired?" I asked.
"No, I am never tired. I am very comfortable." He spoke in His sweet
Touching the beautiful bronze-coloured 'abá, I said: "The coat You wore
when I was in Haifa, which You afterward gave to Edna, was like this in colour,
and we shared it, Edna and I. She would be so sweet as to lend it to me; then
I would return it to her; then she would lend it to me again. It was such a
comfort to me, that coat. At night, or in the early morning, I would bury my
face in its hem and pray. Then I would seem to be kneeling again at Your feet,
He smiled very tenderly while I was telling Him this.
"Edna has become very dear to me. And she loves You very much."
"I want to speak of a friend of Edna's and mine--a very dear friend--a
girl who is very, very close to me,
whom I love with all my heart: M. M. It is difficult for her to serve the Cause on account of
"She must serve in the Cause. Her husband must not prevent her. Neither the
husband nor the wife should hinder the other's work in the Kingdom. She must
not pay any attention to that but must serve firmly. Thus she will make great
progress. She must try to give her husband the Message."
"She loves You very much. Her life has been one of great trial and sorrow."
"Bravo! Bravo!" said the Master. "It makes no difference that she has
sorrows. These have been the cause of her development. Through sorrow the
soul always advances. The greater the difficulty, the greater the progress of
the soul. Now she must begin to serve firmly in the Cause. So, she will make
Soon, all too soon, we reached the shore.
As the crowd on the boat stood still while the gangplank was lowered, two
children in front of the Master turned and lifted their eyes to His face, and
their eyes seemed to say: Is this God? They were very little children; they
came just about to His knees. With a strong, lingering touch, as though He
were leaving something with them, He pressed and fondled their heads. Then the
crowd surged forward; the children and the Father were separated ... for this
After our return, in the early evening, Laura and I were sitting in the
Master's room. He began to speak in Persian, laughing, and I caught the words
"Mrs Sanderson." Then He turned to me and, still laughing, repeated in
English: "Mrs Sanderson thinks this world
is good enough. Very nice, this life!" And He laughed
Later, while Mulk was writing in my room, the Master came in and called us into
His. "Now, have you anything secret to say to me?" He asked.
"I have a message for You from Dr Grant."
"Ah!" He smiled. "Tell me."
"I told him it wasn't a good enough message and that I would not give it to
"Give it just the same."
"He sent You his greetings and said he hoped You would come to New York. That
if You came, he would welcome You gladly. That he felt the work You were doing
in the world was very beautiful and potent."
"Convey My greetings to him. Say: 'I am entirely thinking of you for the sake
of Juliet who has mentioned you to me. Say that at a later date I will come to
New York.' Is there anything else you wish to say, Juliet?"
"There is not a desire in my heart, my Lord."
"This is as it should be. The daughters of the Kingdom should not have a
"I should, like, however, to tell You a little of what has happened."
"Speak," said the Master.
"When I became engaged to Mason Remey," (The Master looked archly at me; I
smiled, but penitently.
"Dr Grant was very unhappy and disturbed, so one day I sent for him. I told
him I was marrying Mason because I wished to be freer to serve the Cause."
"That was a very wise answer. You did well," said the Master.
"But I gave him another reason. I said that the Cause
had spread in the East through sacrifice and I felt if this same
spirit could be demonstrated in the West, this spirit of renunciation
which was all-powerful, that the Cause might begin to spread there."
"I know!" said the Master, His eyes full of love.
Hiding my face on His coat sleeve, I said, half laughing--laughing, of course,
at myself: "I was not strong enough--was I?--to drink the cup of martyrdom. I
was a failure as a martyr."
How the Master laughed!
"I know better now than to ask--for that cup myself. I shall wait now for God
to give it to me. I shall wait till he finds me ready to drink it."
"Inshá'lláh. Perhaps in another way
God will give you that cup to drink, and the capacity for it."
"I hope so." After a pause I continued. "The following Sunday he preached on
'Renunciation'. This was his text. He said he had just had a new vision of
the power of renunciation. He said that 'when a soul did the great thing first
it inspired others to follow in the path of sacrifice.' And from that time on
his life did change. He flung caution to the winds and with the utmost
courage, in the face of the strongest opposition from within his church,
championed the cause of the poor, of labour against capital; not in a way to
encourage class hatred, but to promote mutual understanding. In the pulpit he
says such things as these: 'A great new Light is breaking upon earth. The
earth is being enriched and prepared for the birth of a new humanity. And in
the face of this light of Democracy, of universal sympathy, of the ever-fuller
disclosure through science of the Will of God through the Laws of God, what are
you to do with your miserable little creeds? While humanity marches rapidly
to the Great Brotherhood, we find the Church lagging behind
sociologically, allying itself through fear with the aristocratic classes.
While science is marching on, the Church lags behind intellectually. And what
are the certain consequences of this? Death for the Church. Something new,
something living is coming. We feel it in the air.'
"One Sunday, my Lord, he even went so far as to mention Thy Name. 'The
Bishop,' he said, 'has asked me to preach today on Church unity, but I wish to
consider this subject from the point of view of the disintegration of the
Church. The Church, which, had it fulfilled the hope of Jesus, would have set
the example of brotherhood to the world, has split into fragments, while
outside it we see great Movements for the Brotherhood of Man, such as the
Bahá'í Movement, centred around the Master in 'Akká. With
this, though we may not agree with all it teaches, we must feel
sympathy, since it is not trying to unite the souls on the basis of disputable
facts, but on the basis of universal sympathy. For supposing the Church did
unite, what then would we do with our brothers the Jews, our brothers the
Muslims, our brothers the Hindus, and our brothers the atheists? Are these to
be considered as outside our body? No! The day has come for the falling of
all barriers: social, national, religious."'
"Good; very good," said the Master, who had been listening with keen attention.
Then He closed His eyes, as He always does when He sends a message.
"Convey my greetings to him. Say: Miss Juliet has told me all about your
preaching. What you have said lately is very good. It is exactly so.
"In the time of Jesus the Pharisees lit a lamp in opposition to the Light of
Jesus. Only darkness resulted. But
the Lamp of the Teachings of Jesus afterward became a great flame.
Then it became as a sun and brightened the whole world.
"Such teachings as the people of today have in their hands cannot stand against
the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Soon the East and the West will be
ablaze with these lights.
"In the lifetime of Jesus eleven disciples became illumined. See what happened
afterward! The whole world became illumined. But in the lifetime of
Bahá'u'lláh half a million souls became illumined. From this you
can see what will be the result in the future.
"The Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh no one can deny. If one comes to
know the reality of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh it is
impossible to deny.
"Up to the present time you have been building an edifice on a weak ground.
Now I hope your foundation will be a strong rock, that it may become an eternal
"In the time of Jesus thousands of priests laid a foundation, but their
foundation came to naught. But the foundation laid by Peter, under the Bounty
of Jesus, is everlasting--though Peter was but a fisherman. Then do you lay
the same foundation Peter laid, that it may last forever!"
Joy flooded my soul as He spoke. When He had ended I knelt at His feet, I
kissed the hem of His robe. Divinely He smiled at me.
"I know," I said "Whose Voice is calling him."
"Inshá'lláh, you willmake him
"Then I have not loved and suffered in vain?"
"Inshá'lláh, through you," the Master
repeated, "he will become a believer."
Just before dinner Elizabeth Stewart and Lilian Kappes
(on their way to Persia to teach in Dr Moody's school) arrived at the
hotel. The Master, of course, took them down to dinner, placing them opposite
Him at the table and calling me to sit at His side. Several nations were
represented at that table: Persia, America, France and Russia--for a Russian
believer had also just arrived. And the Master said: "To the refreshing water
of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh come many and various birds from
many lands and at these cooling streams slake their thirst. When the lamp is
ignited the butterflies flutter around the light."
"May we," said Lilian Kappes, "be ready to singe our wings at this Flame."
"Bravo!" said the Master. "I am very much pleased with your answer."
In the evening the Master came to my door. Elizabeth and Lilian were in the
room. I was off somewhere for a minute or two. He had in His hand three
flowers. One spray with three blossoms He left for me. "This is for Juliet,"
He had said. Later He came back and brought me a chocolate which He put in my
mouth with His own fingers, as a father might feed His little child. He often
brought chocolates to me. Here is the spray from His hand. (I pressed it in
On Monday, I went away.
(Footnote. 1924. It all happened so suddenly, so bewilderingly.
Looking back now, I see why. I was not mad enough with love in Thonon. I
could be separated from Him.
Knowing that our whole party were His guests at the hotel and being
in such a material condition that I worried about His pocketbook, I felt I must
make some move to go. In 'Akká the Master Himself had always told us
when to go, but being His guest in a very expensive hotel seemed to me a
different situation. Edith had asked me to come to Vevey on Monday and stay
overnight with her and I thought this might be a sign that my Heavenly Visit in
Thonon was over. I was puzzled and didn't know what to do and decided to
consult Laura. I met her by chance in the upstairs hall just outside the
Master's door and at once plunged into the subject.
"Laura," I said, "the Master is under such heavy expense. Don't you think I
ought to suggest leaving?" And Laura had barely finished replying, "Perhaps
you should, Juliet," when the Master opened His door and came out.
"Chíh mígúyad?" (What did she say?) He asked.
Laura explained. And then--His answer fell like a blow, it was so curt
"Khaylí khúb." (Very
well.) That was all.
But He said something later which, by mistake, was never translated to me.
Edith was to spend Tuesday in Thonon and He said I must come back with her.
Edith herself urged me to do so, but not knowing that the Master had invited
me, I felt that I could not thrust myself on Him. I thought of several people
who had come, unasked, to see Him at mealtime. I thought of the greedy little
children selling violets and His gentle rebuke to them when they held out their
hands for more francs: "Tell them that they have taken," and said to myself:
I have taken too. So, though it desolated meto see Edith go
without me, back to that Presence which was my Life, I wouldn't let myself be
I sailed with Edith as far as Lausanne and there, in
Lausanne, made another fatal mistake. I bought my ticket for New
York on a boat belonging to an independent line, which meant I couldn't change
to any other line. I thought I had to do this as my money was running so low
and this was the cheapest line and the first boat leaving Genoa.
Edith had asked me to stay with her one more night, so I went back to Vevey to
wait for her. When she returned she said to me: "I have something to tell
you, Juliet, that will nearly kill you, but you would rather know than not.
The Master expected you today."
To return to Monday--when I went away.
He sent for me early in the morning with Mulk to translate for me.
"Now will you give Me the messages, Juliet?"
I had many and I gave them all. When I mentioned Marion deKay He said: "Give
her My affectionate greeting. She must be educated for a teacher. She must be
taken great care of and treated very well. Taken great care of," He
I spoke of dear Silvia Gannett: "She asked me to tell You, my Lord, of a dream
she had lately in which a voice said to her: 'I want you to serve Me in
London.' She felt sure that it was Your voice. But she never mentioned this
dream to me till one day she came to see me and found me crying, with Your
Tablet in my hand and Ahmad's letter saying that You would be in London at the
Races' Congress. Then, when I explained why I was crying--that Mamma wouldn't
let me travel alone--she told me the dream and that now she saw the meaning of
it: she must go to London with me. But she could only stay there a very short
time, much as she longed to wait till You came. She had to return home to get
The Master, at this, smiled so funnily, for Silvia is seventy-two!
Then He said: "It," (her dream, of course, and her obedience) "is a sign that
she will make progress and that her work in the Cause will be very good. Tell
her it is just as though she had seen Me. Her journey is accepted as a visit.
It will be just as though she had seen Me, just the same."
In my hand I held a letter from Nancy Sholl with a message in it for Him.
"Here is something interesting," I said. "Years ago I read a book by Miss
Sholl. It was called The Law of Life, which she proved in her story to
be sacrifice. The book was so spiritual that I longed to give Miss Sholl the
Message, but when I tried to find her I heard that she lived in Ithaca. Then
one day she walked into my studio with some people who wanted to sublet it--she
had moved from Ithaca to New York--and we have been dear friends ever since.
In this letter she sends You 'the loving greetings of a sincere seeker.'"
Smiling, the Master seized the letter. "Give her My most affectionate and
loving greeting. Tell her I took her letter away from you."
He spoke some tender words to me. "I shall see you again," He concluded.
"When the time comes I will write for you."
I realized suddenly that I was going to leave Him. A great wave of sorrow
swept over me. I strained my eyes to His Face: and oh the blinding Glory
there! His Face was a sun and Divine Love blazed from His eyes. It seemed to
me I saw God.
"Always?" He breathed.
"Always, my Lord."
That look was the last. Mulk was called out and this left me alone with the
Master for a moment. I sat at His
feet in silence, my eyes downcast, feeling throughout my whole being
His holy calm and the peace of His Presence.
Then Laura knocked at the door and came in, followed by Hippolyte, and together
they talked of my plans, and, while they were talking, the Master rose from His
chair by the window and with His swift step left the room.
Still earlier that morning Zillu's-Sultán elder son had come to visit the Master. After a long
private talk with Him, the prince rushed into Mulk's room threw himself down on
the couch and wept bitterly.
"If only I could be born again," he sobbed, "into any other family than mine!
When I think that my own father has massacred so many Bahá'ís;
that it was through my grandfather's orders that thousands of
Bábís were slaughtered and the Báb Himself executed, I
cannot endure the blood that flows in my veins. If only I could be born
It was on Wednesday, after those two sweet days with Edith, that I sailed down
the lake to Geneva. Oh Lake of Geneva! To me it is not earthly at all.
Hemmed off from the world by mountains, ethereal in mist, hallowed by His
Sacred Presence, it is like a vision descended from Heaven. I can scarcely
think of it as permanent, but rather as a shining bit of the immortal world
revealed for the time as His environment.
I have already told of that sail to Geneva: the docking
of the boat at Thonon, which seemed to me a sign that the Master was
drawing me back to Him, since we had to cross the lake and go out of our course
to dock there; how crushed I was when no one appeared at the landing to meet
me; how desperate as the boat moved away from Thonon and I felt I had
lost my last chance to be with my Lord again; my frantic desire to at least
communicate with him driving me to call Hippolyte the minute I reached my
hotel, and Hippolyte's breath-taking news: that the Master was coming the
following night to Geneva and wished me to get in touch with Edith and ask her
to join me there with Miss Hopkins.
Edith and Miss Hopkins arrived the next day a few hours earlier than the
Master. Miss Hopkins is a very interesting girl: nun-like, really medieval.
One thing she does beautifully is to illumine parchment cards, like the old
missals. We had a happy hour together; then the two girls went off to rest and
I to my balcony to pray.
Mount Blanc was rosy in the sunset. A diadem of lights encircled the lake.
The mountains on the opposite shore--grizzled, almost barren, striped with
whitish rock--made me think of Palestine.
While we were dining--Edith, Miss Hopkins, and I--at a table facing the window,
we saw the Master's boat approaching. Edith and I rushed out, but were too
late to meet Him on the pier. We met Him on the street, however, and that
seemed so strange: to meet and be greeted by Him, on a European street. We
walked with, or rather behind Him, to the Hotel de la Paix. His rooms, we
found, were on the same floor as ours, the top floor.
The Master would not take the elevator, but walked up those four long flights
of stairs; really, He floated upthe stairs. That gliding
ascent, majestic, of the most
astonishing ease, was almost like a spirit soaring. It made me think
of what Rúhá Khánum said to me once in Haifa, that
even His body was different from ours, "of a different fibre," she said.
The Master went straight to His room and Edith and I stood outside in the hall
with the Persians. It is a beautiful hall, square and white with slender
columns and an enormous well down the centre where the staircase curves to the
ground floor. Almost at once the proprietor came up and there was a little
trouble about the rooms, Hippolyte not being there to arrange and Mulk and the
others not understanding French very well. Edith and I were just moving
forward to translate for them when the Master opened His door and stepped out
into the hall. His mere appearance settled the matter.
"Who is that?" the proprietor asked with a startled look, then agreed to
everything we asked.
I can see the Master now pacing up and down that hall, His hands behind His
back in a way He has, His step firm and royal. I can see the turbaned head,
the calm, noble profile luminous against the white wall.
After this, the Master went with us into Edith's room and waited there till His
dinner was ready, talking to us tenderly. Suddenly He turned to me. "Could
you go to London, Juliet? Miss Rosenberg has written inviting you to stay with
My heart leapt! Go toLondon with Him! Then, after all, this
was not the end, this added bountyin Geneva, this merciful bounty
granted to me in place of the lost day in Thonon. But, how could I
prolong my trip? I had almost no money left.
"My Lord," I said, "I should love above all things to go, but my steamer ticket
is bought and I can't exchange
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris]
it, as it is on an independent line. And in order to catch
the boat I must leave Geneva tomorrow on the early train. But I could
stay till nine o'clock and try to make some kind of change."
(Footnote. 1924. And here I made my third and most fatal
mistake--always thinking about pocketbooks, even that of the all-powerful Lord
instead of, with perfect trust, leaving everything in His hands.)
"No," He answered, "it is not necessary. It was just that Miss
Rosenberg wrote. Miss Rosenberg loves you very much. Everybody loves you and
Edith," He added, smiling. Then He asked Edith to call Miss Hopkins in and
this left me alone with Him for a moment. Looking at me with questioning eyes,
He whispered, "Always?"
Dinner over, He sent first for Edith, then for me, to come to His
room. While Edith was with Him I prayed, standing on my balcony. By now it
was dusk. The lights around the lake sparkled like strung stars. A purpose
formed in my mind. Later I understood the real Source of this impulse.
As I took my place at His feet I said: "Dr Hakim has told me You weren't
served well tonight; that You have eaten almost nothing. You are hungry I
know. Let us go out--Tamaddunu'l-Mulk and I--and bring You some fruit with our
He is always thinking for others and to see His appreciation of our slightest
thought for Him, the warm happy love that beams from His eyes at such times, is
unbearably touching. But He would not let us get anything.
"No, no," He said. "No thank you. I was beautifully served. There
was chicken, and many other things to come. I was too tired to eat--that was
"What have you to ask, Juliet?"
"That I may always see Thy Face. To see it will protect me from
"You must always see it. There must be no temptation." Then He, Himself
introduced my next subject! "I do not," He said, "want to make you angry"--at
which I looked up at Him laughing--"I do not want to hurt you, Juliet. But I
must tell you something."
I knew what was coming. I pressed His hand.
"Don't think I am going to ask you to marry Mr Remey. Even if you wished to do
so now, I would not wish it. But about Dr Grant ..." Then in a marvellous way
He analyzed Percy Grant's character and the nature, even the history of our
attachment, taking my breath away by His perfect knowledge of the whole
"But, my Lord, isn't it true that he has other qualities--for example, his
courage and his force--that would make him a wonderful servant of the
"Ah, that is another affair," said the Master. "I am thinking now of your
"Some men," He went on, "are like this. They do not wish to marry and they
love the love of women, and should you let this continue, it will go on forever
in the same way until in the end he leaves you. Besides, meantime you may fall
into difficulty. It is often by just such a thing that a black line is drawn
across a girl's character. Now when you return to New York, Juliet, you must
end this. Either you must marry him or separate yourself from him, cut
yourself entirely from him. Understand, I
do not wish to separate you. I wish youto marry him.
But I want the present state of things to end.
"I am speaking to you in this way because I love you so much. I love you very
much; therefore I say these things to you.
"If you should marry him it may be good for the Cause--you may
give him the Message--or, it may not be good. I do not care about this. I
am thinking of your happiness."
"Ask the Master," I said to Tamaddunu'l-Mulk, "to tell me His Will and whatever
it is I will do it, for I love His Will. I love following it. I intended to
speak of this tonight. I intended to say: I am ready now to put Dr Grant out
of my life."
"No, no," answered the Master. "You must understand that I do not want to
separate you. I want you to marry him. It is My wish that you marry him.
When you go back can you not say to him: 'We must end this in one of two ways.
If you love me, marry me. There is no obstacle. If not, I must cut myself
"Oh my Lord," I said, hiding my face on His knee, "how could I say that to him?
I should be ashamed to."
I had never refused the Master anything before, but I quailed at the thought of
proposing to Percy Grant!
(Footnote. 1947. I hate to copy these idiotic words: "I had
never refused the Master anything before." And on top of all my
protestations that I loved His Will! Who on earth was I to "refuse the
Master?" The awful impudence of it! The unconscious complacency of that
comment was much worse than what I did.
"Then cannot your mother say it for you?"
"She won't even speak to him."
"Have you no friend who can take this message?"
"No. And besides: oh my Lord, how could I force him?"
"But you are not a child. And you must think of your future. Many men have
wished to marry you."
"But, my Lord, I have no desire to marry."
"But I want you to marry, if not Dr Grant, then some other. Otherwise, when
you are older you will fall into great misery. You can paint now; you are
young, but you must think of your future, my daughter." His fatherly
tenderness touched me to the heart.
"But it would be very difficult to marry a man I didn't love."
"That is the way with everyone," He said.
"My Lord," I asked, "mightn't I stay away from him--stop going to his church,
refuse his invitations, refuse to see him when he comes?"
"Perhaps," and He made a laughing comment on human nature. "But," returning to
His first suggestions, (with anxiety, it seemed to me, for He glanced from side
to side as though He, Himself, were looking for a messenger) "is there no one
to take him this word: marriage or separation?"
"No, but if You wish, my Lord, I will do it myself."
"I leave that in your hands, only do something to make him realize ... See,"
He said, "how much I love you! I have come to Geneva to tell you this and have
stayed up so late" (it was nearly midnight) "talk to you about it."
(Footnote. I wish I could write everything He said that night. At
times He was so comic about poor Percy's character that I couldn't help
laughing with Him. When
you are in His Presence nothing really matters except the eternal
He looked very tired, and my heart smote me. How we accept His
sacrifices, as if this immortal, universal King belonged just to us!
"Is there anything else you wish to ask, Juliet?"
"Only to say once more that I long to forever fix in my mind Thy Face. This
will keep me firm and steadfast, desiring nothing but Thee."
"When your heart is perfectly pure and your love for Me increasing, then you
shall see My Face."
"Come and knock at My door in the morning," He said.
"But I must leave so early. I must take the six-fifty train."
"Come whenever you are dressed. I shall be up."
Edith woke me at dawn. The horizon was crimson, the lake in its rim
of dark mountains, a crystal mirror.
I went to the Master alone. In His exquisite thoughtfulness He had left the
door ajar. I knelt at His feet. A great flood of sorrow rose in me.
"Don't cry!" said His tender voice and I felt His delicate, vital fingers
wiping the tears from my eyes. I felt my heart suddenly at peace, as though He
had laid His Power upon it and checked that uprising storm of wild grief.
"Always?" He asked.
"Always!" After a moment I added in Persian: "I shall be with You
In English He replied, and none but the Comforter
Himself could speak in such a tone: "With Me--always."
Here in my cabin alone on this queer little ship I am fortifying myself
for what lies before me in New York. I stay all day in my cabin, to avoid the
people, and pray and write. To none of these people could I give the Message,
nor anything else, in fact.
Always I seek the Master's Face. Sometimes He dawns on me in immortal glory
and sometimes He smiles at me. Only through service, only through prayer, only
through obedience shall I climb to His Presence and live in it "always".
I went to Thonon, not to find Him there, but to find Him afterwards. I
have not yet found Him, except for brief moments. In the anguish before me, in
the deprivation, in the "Heaven of Poverty": there shall I find Him.
I have been curiously stripped on this journey. Through the chivalry of an
idealist who offered to help me at the customs, I lost my trunk. In Naples I
lost my fountain pen; somewhere, my prayer book--even my prayer book! I have
just the clothes on my back, nothing else. This diary, with my book of Tablets
(the Master's Tablets to me) and the 'Akká diary,I have been
carrying in a little bag, and thank God these are safe.
There is the dinner bell. I must go and sit with these funny people, who ply
their toothpicks so vigorously (which makes me horribly sick) and accuse me of
"I no want you see angels," said a fiery musician to
me yesterday. "I want you" (pounding his chest) "to see
So I fly to my cabin and bolt my door.
8 September 1911
My struggle began today. Peace went. Standing at the bow of the boat
just now, the salt wind in my face, the sea rough with whitecaps, I realized
I have been more anxious to lead Percy Grant to the Kingdom than to be led
there myself. I have counted more on eternal union with him than on eternal
union with God. I have never been able to disentangle my love for the Cause
from my love for him, or from my hopes and desires for him and myself--my
A captive, fettered by mine own desire,
Yet with a soul that panted to be free,
Yet with a heart on fire
For Him who freeth all captivity.
Suppliant, I knelt before
His Prison door.
The latch is lifted and wide flung the door!
Behold the amazing Glory of His Face!
Veils, veils of Light, no more,
These mortal eyes discern in His strange grace.
I cry: "O Mystery,
Grant that I see!"
With tender fingers quickening in their touch,
Gently He wiped away mine unshed tears.
"O thou," He breathed, "who lovest much,
Await the sure unfolding of the years,
The vision purified
Through hope denied."
The years unfolded, while a heavenly rain
Of tears washed ever clearer my dim sight.
Suppliant I knelt again,
Unfettered now, before the Eternal Light.
"Accept the heart I bring
To Thee, O King!"
I lift mine eyes to His Divinity,
Eyes streaming now with tears of love alone.
God! What is this I see?
For veils of night and veils of Light are gone,
In flaming Day.
Haloed with rays, encircled as with fire,
The clouds of earth rolled back, in ambient space,
Eyes as two stars of living fire,
Clearly I see the Christ--the Eternal Face--
The Father in the Son,
The One--the ONE!
"Always for Me, always for Me!"
Ah, Whose the Voice that stirs the night
In a chant sweeping in from Eternity
Like the sighing wind o'er a boundless sea,
"My heaven, My soul, My light!
Thy heart for Me, thy breast for Me,
Always for Me, always for Me!
Thine eyes for Me, thy brow for Me,
Always for Me!
Thy soul for Me, thy spirit for Me,
Always for Me, always for Me!
Thy blood for Me--thy blood for Me,
Thy blood for Me!"
"Always for Thee, always for Thee,"
My heart to the Heavenly Wooer sings.
"Sever my heart, my mind, mine eye
From the mortal vanishing things!
Lift me above the earth-desire,
Higher and higher, higher and higher
To the placeless pyre of undying fire,
The love of the King of Kings!
And on Thine earth where Thy footstep rings
Pour out my blood in Thy hallowed Way,
That mortals, the red sign following,
May attain to the Fount of Day.
Always for Thee, always for Thee!
On through the worlds of Eternity
To the endless end no eye can see,
The bird of fire to the Burning Tree!
On, on to the beat of tireless wings--
Always for Thee!"
This last little one I wrote after I left 'Akká, in 1909:
O King of Kings, O King of Kings!
My heart it is Thy quivering lyre.
Thy vital fingers sweep its strings,
Sweep its strings, sweep its strings.
Its strings are set afire, my Lord,
Its strings are set afire!
Oh kindled by divine desire,
For Thee it sings, for Thee it sings,
Forevermore for Thee it sings,
This heart that is Thy lyre, my Lord,
This heart that is thy lyre!
15 September 1911
I am approaching New York--and my ordeal. But, thank God, I have been
gathering strength. This week has been one of such frightful storm that I
haven't been able to write a word. But, through the storm, the more brightly
shone His Face.
I love this dear little house. It is very simple and old-fashioned in
an old-fashioned street. It looks like the homes of my childhood, only more
simple and therefore more lovely. And yet, how it complicates the problem with
which I have returned to live in it, since it is almost opposite the house of
Percy Grant. Strange, to be moved so close to him by something outside my
will at this of all moments, when I must separate myself from him. I
say "outside my own will," for I didn't choose this house; it came as the
result of prayer. We tried for weeks and weeks and couldn't find a house in a
neighbourhood to suit Mamma. Then one morning I got on my knees and prayed
and, just a little later in the morning, Marjorie and I, on our way to
Greenwich Village, saw the sign "For Rent" on 48 West Tenth Street and Mamma
approved of this neighbourhood!
23 November 1911
O Handmaiden of God!
The news of your trouble and difficulty on the way caused Us great sorrows. In
truth the trouble was very hard to bear. I hope you may receive a great reward
for it. The cause of this trouble and difficulty was that for the love of
seeing that unkind person you made great haste to go.
Remember My advices. Find a friend whose heart is yours, but not one who has a
thousand hearts (affections). Think of God's Will, because God is the most
Upon you be the Glory of God.
(signed) Abdul Baha Abbas
[P.S.] I send you a small sum of money.
I shall never forget the awful moment when I read this Tablet. "For the love
of seeing that unkind person you made great haste to go."(!) Every morning
after that I awoke with these words ringing in my ears: "You made great
haste to go."
My first thought was: "How can it be true?" So
unconscious are we of our own real condition. Then I looked deep into my
heart. Yes, it was true. I was always saying to myself in Thonon:
"When I return to New York I will tell Percy this, I will tell him that." I
looked forward to that return with excitement for it meant beginning a new life
in a new home opposite his. I started back happily, to be overtaken at Geneva
by the Master and His stern command: "Marry Dr Grant, or leave him. Cut
yourself entirely from him."
Oh that pause at Geneva! I can see the Master now, the unexpected Visitor,
leading Edith and me up those four flights of stairs to the Upper Chamber. I
can see Him floating before us, the Being from worlds above Who has lit upon
earth for a brief time.
"You made great haste to go." How blind I have been and how I
have lost through my blindness. But for my stubborn attachment I might
have spent weeks in Europe with Him, in Paris and London. For the "small sum
of money" was the most pointed of signs that I could easily have given up my
passage on "the independent line." It was $120: exactly the cost of the
I had not written to the Master of my "difficulties" on the way. Only to Mulk
had I mentioned these trifles--the seven days of storm, the temporary loss of
my trunk--for I got it again after nine weeks. Yet in the midst of His great
pressure of work He had hastened to write me, to express His tender
sympathy for my little inconveniences, to open my eyes to their real cause, my
so persistent attachment--and, at this insecure moment, as I begin my "new
life" opposite the house of Percy Grant--to repeat His warning at Geneva. How
vigilant is God's watchfulness over His least creature!