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Tea in Paris...

In the very early days Loulie Mathews came into the Faith while Abdu'l-Baha was yet imprisoned in Acca. She came in very quickly immediately, really, upon hearing of it, and she came in aflame with enthusiasm. She had been told that Abdu'l-Baha had expressed the wish that the Faith might be growing more rapidly in Paris, so, to Paris Loulie went. She made speedy and elaborate preparations for this expedition and when she had installed herself in a luxurious suite, she made further preparations, buying herself elaborate tea gowns that floated elegantly and had long fringe that swung as she moved. She also furnished herself with a silver tea service and many delicate cups and saucers. Then, she considered that she was prepared to teach the Faith she loved so well - and she sent out many invitations to tea.
Several weeks went by. Loulie continued to give her teas, but her success was not marked. Guests came, chattered, listened a moment, nibbled her delicious cakes, drank the delicate tea, and left. Then, one afternoon a man came, robed in soft gray with a turban on his head and he introduced himself by saying that he had come from Abdu'l-Baha. So Loulie welcomed him warmly and gave him tea. But, as he reached out to accept the cup, his sleeve fell back and exposed deeply bitten scars on his wrists. Loulie gasped, "Oh! You have been hurt." The man smiled radiantly, "But these are the scars from the chains put upon me when I was in prison with my Lord," "Oh", said Loulie glancing at her own delicate wrists, "How you must have suffered!" The man looked at her, astonishment and a kind of radiant amusement in his eyes. "Suffer? When I was in prison with my Lord? Oh, but every moment was a blissful joy."
After the man had gone, Loulie meditated long and gravely upon these things he had said and she concluded - looking at her chiffon tea gowns and the silver service - that, apparently, there were things about this Faith of which she knew little. So she wrote to Abdu'l-Baha telling him this and adding that she was going to return to New York and study and learn. if she could, some of the things she evidently needed to learn. This letter to Abdu'l-Baha was put, with other out-going mail, on a small table to be picked up. And while it was still lying there, waiting to go out, a Tablet came from Abdu'l-Baha in which He said, He was most happy to know of her decision to go home and study, but she must not be discouraged, for the time would come when she would be a 'lion roaring through the Cause of God.' ...and of course that time did come and she was that lion.

Told to many of us by Loulie Mathews
at Temerity c. 1946.

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