The Priceless Pearl
INTIMATE GLIMPSESIn seeking to convey even a glimpse of what the beloved Guardian's life was like - the side of his life so little known to anyone but his immediate family - I have decided to quote some excerpts from my own diaries. It must be borne in mind that these were not regularly kept throughout the years, were, like most diaries, only a sketchy picture of events that would have taken hours to record in detail and in later years were practically given up entirely by me owning to lack of strength and time. The references to people in them are not cited for any individual reason but just because they happen to be woven into the background, at that moment, of something going on in Shoghi Effendi's daily life. There is something about the words written down in moments of deep feeling or keen observation that is never quite recovered when one goes over them later on; it is to recapture this feeling of urgency, of poignancy, that I have ventured to publish these few quotations, making no attempt at elaboration or explanation, just lifting a veil a little on an ocean of daily work and sorrow.
 "I sometimes feel that this intense objectiveness of Shoghi Effendi is one of the factors God has endowed him with. He is an absolutely unselfconscious instrument. His impulses are violent and no one (I mean no disinterested observer) could doubt the tremendous achievements of his for the Cause, all carried out on the these unhesitating impulses. That is all his decisions - but of course he revolves things for weeks, sometimes years in his mind before acting. All the thought in the world is there but when he feels the urge he never waits five seconds!"
 "The Master gave us a Trust. That Trust is the Guardian. He said 'that no dust of despondency may stain his radiant nature.' Dust of despondency! he has been so abused and tortured by those who should have sustained and encouraged him that his radiant nature is as rare as rare can be now. Sometimes I see it like [page 160] a sun in his dear face shining through - he suffers so much that many times he has to go to bed because of it, literally prostrated!"
 He suffered: "so often and so inordinately in connection with send the community away from Haifa."
[8-8-39] "Got up at six today and went to get us the necessary visas (always providing we can get "out of Switzerland) and have been on the road just 18 hours! And this is not the first day of rushing... and this is typical of my life. No time for anything..."
[6-9-39] "Back in the Middle East...an utterly exhausting trip, most of the time without sleepers. One night we slept an hour and a half! it does not seem real at all that was has come to the world. Passing through blackened towns - seeing troop trains moving up - waiting to hear the radio news...Shoghi Effendi's way has been opened as it always will be - the scene seemed to crash behind us, but we were safely through."
[5-10-39] "He says he feels like a broken reed. No doubt partly due to his having been very ill for ten days with an awful fever - a few times reaching 104 degrees! Z__ and I have nursed him day and night and to say we have been through a kind of hell is no exaggeration. To be alone with the Guardian so ill and a strange doctor was such a strain and responsibility! I think we slept at most 4 hours a night for a week!"
[22-1-40] "The Guardian and the Cause are invulnerable. I often long to say to the Bahá'ís 'follow his through hell or heaven dark or light, life or death, blindly or seeing, cleave to him, he is your "only salvation.' Tonight a man came here. He entered the house a Bahá'í. He left it a Covenant-Breaker. (He refused to obey the Guardian flatly.) He stood a long time at the gate. I wanted to cry out to him 'Do you leave your soul behind so easily?' After all these years, reared in the Faith, he throws it away so lightly! And what else has life to offer man except his soul? And the most precious gift of God he drops by the wayside because it is inconvenient and difficult to obey at the moment...If the friends only knew how the Master and the Guardian both suffered through the calibre of the local Bahá'ís. Some of them were good. But some were rotten. It's as if, when someone was unsound in the Covenant, they attacked the very body of the Manifestation, or the Exemplar, or the Guardian. I have seen this. It is like poison. He recovers from it, but it causes him untold suffering and it was from such things that the Master described Himself in His Will as 'this broken winged bird.' It is profoundly organic. It has nothing to do with sentiment at all." [page 161]
[Remark of Shoghi Effendi] "You cannot be a hero without action. This is the touchstone. Not movement, coming and going, but in the evidences of your character. Jacky [Marion Jack] is a heroine because of her conduct, the heroic spirit reveals itself in her. Martha [Martha Root] had the heroic action. She went 'til she dropped."
[Remarks of Shoghi Effendi] "The object of life to a Bahá'í is to promote the oneness of mankind"; "Our aim is to produce a world civilization which in turn will react on the character of the individual."
[Remark of Shoghi Effendi] "I know it is a road of suffering. I have to tread this road 'til the very end. Everything has to be done through suffering." [2-1-42] "He says maybe this is not the last war before the Lessor Peace, perhaps there will be a stalemate, or a truce, and then it will burst out again, or continue, worse than ever before. Of course he is not dogmatic in this belief, he just says 'Maybe, it is quite possible.'"
[5-1-42] "They [the family] have all gotten out of tune with the all-pervading melody of this house - the Guardian - and consequently cannot possibly adjust themselves as Bahá'ís when the main thing is dislocated."
[7-1-42] "All this causes the Guardian agony. I am really concerned about his heart. Last night it was beating so fast, far, far too fast! And sometimes, for hours almost, he breathes heavily and quickly from being too upset...there is something in the Guardian like a barometer. It registers your spiritual pressure, so to speak; nothing outward would explain how it is he gets so upset sometimes over a thing he does not yet know! I have seen this happen loads of times. He reacts instinctively and immediately. Often, later, the cause comes to light and one sees a glimpse of the workings of it all. In the end it will kill him. How and when no doubt will be according to the wisdom of God. He will always be triumphant - as he always has been. But gradually, little by little, the incessant problems, the eternal struggle, first with one and then another member of the family, are wearing him down. He is bent. His heart is nervous. His nerves are exhausted..."
[16-3-42] "They [the Master's family] have gone a lone way to crushing every ounce of spirit out of the Guardian. By nature he is cheerful and energetic and has a unique and marvellous brightness of nature that is capable of making him fairly scintillate when he is happy or enthused over something. But the perpetual strife of life with the Master's family, the blows he has sustained in the course of being Guardian, (from various crises in the Cause)...have all clouded over...him. Whenever, (during the last 5 years I have [page 162] been able to observe him), he has begun to brighten, someone would come along and plump down some weight of care or misery on him and that would be that! It is criminal! How many times I have heard him say: 'If I were only happy, if they would only make me happy, you would see what I would do for this Cause!' He is like a spring. Every time it begins to bubble and flow, something comes along and plugs it up again! When one realizes that "all the work he has done for the Cause has been "in spite of his sufferings and persecutions, and never because he was free and happy and at rest within himself, one realizes how great the accomplishment is and also one wonders what it "might have been if he had been "happy. Shoghi Effendi has been abused. That is the only word for it, abused, abused, abused. By now he has reached the point of a man fighting with his back to the wall. He says he will fight it out to the last round..."
[20-3-42] As Shoghi Effendi sat working on God Passes By two army fighter planes in practice flight touched wings, lost control and crashed, one coming down over the roof of our house so low I thought it would sheer through the ceiling of Shoghi Effendi's room. It landed and burst into flames not 100 yards away at the foot of the street.
[26-4-42] "Shoghi Effendi has been talking tome about his own miseries. He says those around Him killed 'Abdu'l-Bahá as they killed Bahá'u'lláh - he even says 'They will kill me too.' He told me that Haji Ali told him that a few days before His ascension Bahá'u'lláh called him to His room (to speak to him about something or other). He kept pacing back and forth, He was too upset to speak and finally dismissed Haji Ali with a gesture. Haji Ali could see how angry He was though He did not tell Haji Ali why. Then the Guardian said Bahá'u'lláh must have suffered terribly as He could of course foresee how Muhammad 'Ali would turn against the Master in the future. But He kept it all within Him."
[18-5-42] "Shoghi Effendi says so often the Master would tell them (His family) that after Him they 'would all be abased.'"
[4-7-42] "Then there is the invasion of Egypt. He is wondering which is worse - to stay or to go, that is if things get very bad here. This indecision is very trying. But the truth is we are so used to trouble that it almost ceases to trouble us!"
[3-1-43] "Anyone who knew the true story of Shoghi Effendi's life would weep - weep for his goodness, weep for his pure, simple heart, weep for his labours and his cares, weep for the long, long years in [page 163] which he has toiled ever more alone, ever more persecuted by those around him!
"Just the other day he came into my room, all upset over his work. I asked him why he did not read books by other authors of a similar nature to the one he is writing [it was God Passes By ] so as to be stimulated...He said: 'I have no time, no time. For twenty years I have had no time!'"
[30-1-43] "I am really worried over Shoghi Effendi. When he used to get so very distressed and upset in the past it affected him, but not as it does now. Sometimes I think it will lead to his premature death... he breathes so hard, almost like one who has been running, and he has such huge shadows under his eyes. He forces himself to go on and finish the letters he has had piled for days on his desk - but he reads a thing sometimes ten minutes over and over because he can't concentrate! I think no suffering is worse than seeing someone you love suffer. And I can't remedy it. All I wonder is how god can stand to see him suffer so."
[29-11-43] "Although the summer was peaceful in the sense there were no horrible crises...I don't think the Guardian ever worked so hard during his 'vacation' before, and I am sure I didn't! He often says 'this book is killing me' to which I invariably answer 'me too'. In other words the way he has worked on this Centennial Review [God Passes By] is really cruel; for two years he has literally slaved over it - along with all his other work and cares..." [Shoghi Effendi had received a particularly dry and feelingless letter from a National Assembly and I was angry over this] "...the driest, coldest letters I have ever seen. Why doesn't he learn from the Guardian who writes people that even are mentally deficient with loving kindness? The Bahá'ís don't deserve a Guardian and all I hope is God will not change them for another people."
One of the family had died and the widow came to the house and wanted Shoghi Effendi to accept the terms of his Will and receive money for the Cause, also to receive from her the extremely precious seals of Bahá'u'lláh entrusted to her care by 'Abdu'l-Bahá when He went on His travels to the West. As she was in contact with the excommunicated members of the family Shoghi Effendi would accept neither...I reported to him her conversation (he would not see her, but had sent me in his place):
[26-12-43] "All of this I repeated to Shoghi Effendi at great length and brought him the seals and the Will of __. He said to tell her he did not want a million seals of the whole of Mt. Carmel, he wanted [page 164] sincerity and loyalty and that unless she cut herself entirely from __'s family...in her heart, he could do nothing for her, and to keep the seals and the Will...the Guardian would have liked very much to have had the seals - so precious - for the Archives, but, as he told me, he could net very well take the seals and put her out of the house! The thing that puzzles me is that it is now 23 years since the Master died, couldn't she once during those 23 years, many of which she was very close to the Guardian, give him those precious relics which she says were never given her but only "entrusted to her! She wanted me to take them when she saw the Guardian would not accept them but I said I would not do that as at would not be Shoghi Effendi's wish that I should do so...."
"All day Shoghi Effendi types his manuscript [God Passes By ] and I read the copy before mailing it to Horace [Horace Holley, Secretary of the American National Assembly] to be sure the last mistakes are ironed out, and he and I spend hours reading the original and correcting the pages and putting in the interminable accents!
"I have not even recorded that Daddy, at the Guardian's request, has made a design for the Shrine of the Bab. Today the minarets or spires (suggested by the Guardian) met with his approval and Dad is to go ahead and work out the details and a final drawing can be unveiled or shown on the Centenary and also provide for a model. The model will be the crucial test - if the Guardian likes it he will announce to the Bahá'í world the plan.
"It seems too utterly marvelous that Daddy should be given this inestimable blessing of designing the Bab's Shrine. If he succeeds it will be the purest bounty of God and if it is not to be we cannot be surprised for we have already been blessed far beyond our desserts in every possibly was as a family!" [5-7-44] "Shoghi Effendi is by nature an administrator and builder, par excellence. The "two things we need most just now. How petty man's vision of things compared to God's Plan! I think if we praised God a million years, morning, noon and night, we would not get beyond the first "T" of thanks! - and yet we are so blind to our blessings!"
[24-7-44] "Shoghi Effendi cannot stand much more. I am very worried over him...they are wearing him away. He was in a terrible condition today and "wept. I cannot write about it. I can't stand it! I wonder how God can endure to see him so." [page 165]
[18-12-44] "These are certainly "the years. I don't think Shoghi Effendi will ever face a second crisis like this in his lifetime [the disaffection of family, local community and servants]. I hope not! I am wondering how his health and nerves can be expected to survive this one!"
[30-1-45] "I can't go into details now but I must say the degree on incompetent fools - if not rascals - Shoghi Effendi has around him is appalling. He suffers so much! He only sleeps 5 or 6 hours a night. If I could worry any more I would..."
[27-2-45] "I feel sure the tide will turn. But oh never, never to find Shoghi Effendi as he was! I don't think anything in this world will ever be able to efface what these last years have done to him! Time is a great healer of wounds but it cannot remove scars."
[13-4-45] "...Whenever I want to be sure how loyal a Bahá'í is to him [Shoghi Effendi] I look around and see who hates him - if he is "well hated by the family I can be quite sure he is the essence of loyalty to the Guardian!"
[6-7-45] "Ali Askar went to the hospital...he had declined terribly the last 3 or 4 days...all this is so wearing. But I don't mind anything except to see the great blow this is to the Guardian...they don't die, nor do so many other wretched useless enemies - only Ali Askar. As Shoghi Effendi said the 'most precious' person he has! But God will help him. He will, He will, I know He will. He will raise him up in glory - and I was thinking last night that after all one drop of God's love can compensate for a thousand years of pain...Shoghi Effendi went to see him while I was there today. He is now planning a bang-up funeral for him because he (Shoghi Effendi) desires it and because the enemies require it. But all this is so hard, so hard for him...Shoghi Effendi said 'All I had left was you and your father and Ali Askar and now God takes Ali Askar!'"
[8-7-45] "I went up to the hospital at 4 p.m. and stayed 'til 8. Shoghi Effendi told me to tell Ali Askar he had revealed a telegram about him for the Persian friends in which he described him as the 'lion of the jungle of the love of God' and mentioned all his long services, etc. When I told this to Ali Askar - who was fully conscious only very weak - the cutest little tickle of a smile of happiness went over his face...I told him he had gone to heaven before leaving this world - the heaven of the Guardian's love, good-pleasure and praise. He kept silent for some time (except for some signs of muttered appreciation) and then, evidently perfectly grasping the fact that such a telegram meant that he is going to die, collected himself [page 166] and said the book he had ordered...he wanted...given from him to Shoghi Effendi...When I came and reported all about Ali Askar to Shoghi Effendi and said how wanted the book bound for the Guardian, his eyes filled with tears! Poor beloved Shoghi Effendi he is the most abused man on earth! Everyone should rejoice over Ali Askar - he died like a king....Today he told the women - he called them to the drawing room - that Ali Askar had served in such a manner that in the end the pilgrims wrote him and signed themselves 'the servant of the servant of the house'! He said he was like the words in the Tablet of Ahmad - a river of life to the loved ones and a flame of fire to the enemies. Then as he left he said 'He is in the Supreme Concourse, conversing with its inmates'! Well, what more does any man want of this life? Then he went to the Shrine this afternoon and after visiting told __ to bring all the flowers from both thresholds. He went in alone to Ali Askar, anointed him with two bottles of attar of rose, laid the flowers on his body - wept for him - what does any man want of this world more than that!...Shoghi Effendi told me something so touching when he came back last night, that when he was alone with the body he remembered 'How that man had served me!", that... he went and pulled down the sheet and looked at him and said he wanted to say 'Ali Askar wake up, get up!' because it seemed he could not be dead, he looked so natural..."
[11-7-45] "The funeral was perfect. Shoghi Effendi spoke of him; then he called for the coffin to be brought up to the upper room of the Pilgrim House, where he sits; then he and all stood for the Prayer for the Dead; then he sprinkled attar of rose on it; then raised it; then followed it to the door, gave instructions and seated the first two taxis...a twenty-five car funeral...then they all left and Shoghi Effendi visited the Shrine and had __ gather all the flowers and take them from the threshold to the grave...Well Ali Askar must be in Seventh Heaven - everyone is sighing and wishing they were he!-including me."
[14-7-45] "Now Shoghi Effendi is ill. He has had an attack of indigestion from, I should say, utterly exhausted over-strained nerves. It is not the first time he has it either. The wonder is he is alive...and he has a fever now - I hope to God he has not got something serious ...I just took his temperature - it's 103-3/5!"
[15-7-45] "I am so tired of the frights Dr. __ gives me! Now he says this may be appendicitis and dysentery, visions of rushing madly to Jerusalem in an ambulance [there was then no surgeon we could [page 167] trust so precious a patient to in Haifa] with Shoghi Effendi and Dad - but I can't believe it will come to that...just rush, rush, and as to the worry my brain feels just transfixed!...every hour I take his temperature. He is so sweet - what a crime he has been so treated by those around him...thank God I don't think he has or will get appendicitis..."
[17-7-45] "Better, but ah so nervous and tired!..."
[20-7-45] "I wouldn't wish on the devil the sufferings Shoghi Effendi and I pass through. I could never describe them - mental and nervous "anguish ...alone...work, work, work, all day long. Buying land, problems, letters, questions, mischief, ill-wish, suspicion, ad infinitum."
[11-4-46] "Shoghi Effendi told Dad to set plans in motion for building the first unit of the Shrine - Hallelujah!"
[20-4-46] "...It is all too much for the Guardian...and yet he has written a marvelous Convention cable with a new Seven Year Plan and is starting on the Shrine. But he suffers too much, too much!"
[25-5-46] "Shoghi Effendi and I have no one left now but Daddy [and two loyal Bahá'ís, one almost 80], he is everything and does everything: he attends to all the banking, mails all the letters, sends all the telegrams, does all the errands that are confidential - for visas, Government matters, City Hall, etc. - and consults and designs, etc., all at the age of 71. He is doing the work of Ali Askar, Riaz and Hussein. He never complains...Shoghi Effendi and I have been talking about our plans; he says we must go...it seemed so terribly hard to leave Daddy, old and tired once again, with all the world of the Cause and no rest or respite. But when I talked to him about it today he was marvelous, said he can manage everything, not to worry over him, that everything will be all right. I can't put it into words, being so very tired (I've had 3 good cries today) how wonderful his spirit is, so unassuming, yet so noble and heroic."
[18-7-47] [From a letter of Ruhiyyih] "She [Gladys Anderson] arrived on the 30th of March...She does all Daddy's work now, thank Heaven!...she does banking affairs, sends mail and cables, runs errands, sees people...The end of April Daddy went to Cyprus - first vacation in 7 years - and spent 6 weeks. It did him a lot of good and now he is starting on the working drawings of the Shrine of the Bab."
[12-2-48] [Rabbani] "I used to be able to get a Jewish stenographer to help me but now no Jew will come to this street if he can help it as it is in the Arab part of town. That is, it is in the old German colony and in our [page 168] neighborhood are mostly Arabs and English people. It may seem unbelievable to you to think that we live in a street where a man could be murdered in cold blood just for walking down it, but that is Palestine today. Of course there are a few brave fatalists who take a chance and come down ninety miles an hour, but they are considered foolhardy to say the least.
"It is all so tragic. And saddest of all is the way the human mind adapts itself to such an atmosphere. Where once a gun shot would have made your blood run cold and filled you with indignation, you soon, from endless repetition, just get used to it, curse whoever is doing it and the other side too, for good measure, and go on about your business. Later you hear who and how was shot by those bullets. It's really disgusting, unspeakably disgusting, that such a condition in the Holy Land should have been allowed to develop through intrigue and negligence...
[1-3-48] "Rage is my primary emotion these days. The senseless wanton murder infuriates me. Most people want nothing more than to be left alone. The bloodthirsty are the exception, not the rule. But they do exist, alas. Why doesn't someone shoot them? They always shoot the wrong people, in all fighting, as far as I can see!"
"Arms are sold openly in Arab quarters. The Bahá'ís here, in Akka, from Tiberius, etc., all testify to this.... Hassan said he and his cousin Muhammad were sitting in a cafe in Tiberius; they heard a boy hawking, he was crying 'Grenade, grenade!' Hassan could not believe his ears so he called him over and asked him what he was selling? He said bombs. He had a sack on his back. This he obligingly dumped on the ground and unloaded a pile of hand grenades! (Mills bombs) 'How mush are they each?' asked Hassan. 'Seventy-five piastres' said the peddler! Needless to say he did not buy...I saw a man from my own bedroom window a few days ago with a revolver in his hand and a crowd of Arabs around him. He wanted to make sure it was working so he came over to our garden wall, fired two shots at it, and headed off for the town, probably to do his bit of murder."
[11-4-48] "Dad and Ben [Ben Weeden, Gladys Anderson's husband] left in an armoured taxi for Tel Aviv! They are supposed to go by plane on the 13th from Lydda on to Rome to place contracts for the Shrine columns and ornamentation if possible."
"Gladys will now sleep over at this house...so we can have her near us as the shooting is too much for her to be all alone in the Pilgrim House at night...Besides it is dangerous for anyone to come [page 169] and go across the street after dark...we told Ben we would bring her over here, so he won't worry."
[21-4-48] "We could not visit Bahji owning to circumstances and visited the Shrine here. Afterwards the car could not get up to the Gardens or leave them, rather, because of the shooting on the road and its being closed off. So Shoghi Effendi walked home down the steps near the Gardens and so did Gladys and I."
[23-4-48] "As I am tired unto death this will be short...The battle of Haifa is something well reported, I guess, everywhere, so I will only report my days and nights. The battle itself was constant and real war. That night for me it was like sleeping at the bottom of a stagnant pool which someone constantly was stirring. I was so tired I did sleep sometimes, but then dream and firing and bombs became all one torpid mixture which was almost worse than sleeping or waking. All these days Shoghi Effendi has been frightfully upset with the A__, with M__ and about other problems."
[25-4-48] "I am still trying to get to the main point of this memorandum: On the 23rd, the day after the battle for Haifa, Dr. Weinshall [the Guardian's lawyer] phoned me and asked how we were? I said we were all well and keeping at home. He said 'I hope you are not leaving?' I said of course not, we have no intention of leaving, why should we leave? He said no reason on earth, he was glad to hear it. Then I said, we know the Jews and the Jews know us, we have nothing to fear from them. He said that was certainly true and that all had the greatest respect for us. He also asked if any of our servants were leaving and I said no, of course not. Then after a little mutual exchange of thought on how foolish the mass exodus of the Arabs was he asked me to give his very kindest regards to Shoghi Effendi. When the Guardian heard this he told me to go and thank him and tell him he felt he wanted him to know something for his own information and then I told him all about Monib's marriage to Jamal Husseini's daughter, etc. He was very surprised and wrote down his and Hassan's name. I also told him about Ruhi being out and that as he might have wondered at the dissension in our own family the real reason was not only religious but on grounds of political affiliations and so on. I told him we would send him (this was yesterday in another conversation) the cable, the Guardian sent, for him to see it...
"Today I again phoned Weinshall and told him that we wanted to give him the names of those people who had no claim on us if [page 170] they pretended to be Bahá'ís. I said Shoghi Effendi naturally resents very much that people who for ten or fifteen years have been put out of our community...should now seek to make good their relation to the Jews by claiming to be Bahá'ís, when we ourselves don't know what they have been doing all these years."
[27-4-48] "Yesterday we had a moment of mad excitement as suddenly the maid rushed up and knocked and said the Haganah wanted to get in. Fortunately I was dressed...and went down as quickly as I could for it seemed first our dumb bunny...went to the door, when she saw a gang of Jews with tommy guns and revolvers she nearly had a fit and went to call Banu, Banu came and the Jews said 'Open the door', she said she had to call the lady of the house and meantime was rushing looking for B" who was not there and then to call me and they said 'If you don't open it we'll break it in!' At this juncture I arrived and immediately let them in. They were five, all young men. I asked if they spoke English and one said he spoke a little. I asked him if he knew whose house this was, the Head of the Bahá'í Community, and he said yes, but somehow I think they did not know and were attracted there for one or two reasons, either because shortly before a truck load of Arabs stopped for a while in front of our door and they thought we had Arabs here or because of our car for one of their first questions was 'Whose car is that in the garage?' When I told them they were satisfied. It turned out one of them spoke Persian as he said his mother was a Persian though he was from 'Yerushalim' so I talked to him in Persian all the time. the did not seem keen on searching the house, were very decent and polity and told, at first, not to be afraid to which I replied I certainly was not! After a very brief look about, and refusing to go downstairs or into the kitchen etc., they left....
"Gladys and I go and come, as we have been doing uninterruptedly for months, in good times and in bad, to the Jewish quarter. I think this has been very wise, though when all the Arabs were sniping the Jews and we had our own Arab guards here in this very street, it was a risky thing to do and we went less often, but we went. This has shown the many Jews who know us that we are not fair weather friends who stay away the moment it gets ticklish. Our car was always searched each time by Jewish guards and often, to those who did not know us, we had to show our American passports. Indeed one day last week, as we came back from the Jewish quarter and slowed down at the barrier a Jewish car shot in front of us and began to talk to the guards. We could not get by and he did [page 171] not move so I asked the guard if he could not pull forward. He was a little embarrassed and said that they say they have seen this car with an Arab driving it. I said 'That is quite true, do you know whose car it is? It belongs to Shoghi Effendi the Head of the Bahá'í Faith and we have an Arab taxi driver who comes every afternoon and drives him up to the Bahá'í Gardens and back home, otherwise we always drive ourselves. If you watch, in a quarter of an hour you will see this same car come by on Mountain Road going to get him with the Arab driving it.' As this was the truth he seemed to recognize it as such and we had no more trouble....
"B" told me something amusing: I asked if our Arab neighbours were going....He said every day they ask me 'Is Shoghi Effendi leaving? They say when he does they will. He said the Palestine policeman now living in K" 's house asked him when he should go and K" told him: 'When you see Shoghi Effendi leave, grab your coat, lock the door and follow him!' The man also said...'If you don't tell me Shoghi Effendi is planning to go, if he does, you are responsible for my life.' The sudden esteem in which our neighbours hold us is rather funny after 25 years ignoring the Cause and the Guardian!"
[4-5-48] "Today the car was stolen! [A gift to Shoghi Effendi from Roy Wilhelm. The Guardian had had no car for years as the old one was sold during the war owing to no spare parts.] My God what a day! At 2:30, as Gladys and I sat over our coffee at lunch, the girl came and said a Jew was at the door. Gladys went to see what he wanted. To make a long story short he was our local Haganah chief, Mr. Friedman, with about 20 armed men, who said they had been called by the Haganah Guard (2 are on duty in our street) as 5 armed men were hovering about our garage door and when he pointed his revolver at them and said to get going they turned their guns on him and told him to move fast so 5 to 1 he went for help. They had had a jeep and when the reinforcement got back they were gone. But although the padlock on our door was sawn through the door was closed from the inside so they thought it was still there. I looked through the keyhole and what a ghastly emptiness - no Buick! Poor Gladys rushed around to the little door at the back and, indeed, no Buick! The Haganah Guard implied Jews had taken it (or English) but would not say outright. Well Friedman notified the Haganah. Gladys and Mansoor notified the army and Stanton St. Police. I phoned Dr. Weinshall who advised us to go to the Hadar Hacarmel Police Station. Shoghi Effendi was [page 172] calmer than anyone else, only said 'How it will rejoice my enemies!' I guess none of us hoped to really see the car again - but how sad it was to have our big lovely Buick, just received after so long a time, gone! With some difficulty I got a Jewish taxi for the Guardian. The driver said 'If Jews have taken your car you'll get it back again!' I went with Gladys to the Police station and waited outside while she made a report, then we left for Weinshall a description of the car as he had said to give him one so he could help. Then our nice taxi driver took us to another Haganah place and we again reported. Then a strange thing happened! We were walking home tired and dispirited, and in the window of a cosmetic shop on Herzl Street she saw a hand lotion I had tried several times to get. I thought I would not bother, but then I decided to get it and went in. The proprietor has known Dad and me for years so he asked about Daddy and I enquired about his old father, etc. I was not going to say anything about the car as I felt humiliated about it but after paying for my things I started out without them. That looked so foolish that I apologized and said 'I am very upset because our car has just been stolen!' The man said 'But I saw your car today at about 2:15 in the new Business Center! And I was surprised because I wondered how you could sell such a beautiful new car!' It seems he had seen Gladys and me driving by the day before and remembered the car vividly and the U.S. license plates! He said Jews had been in it and a Jew driving it and it was just around the corner from the Savoy Hotel. He also said please not to give his name as a witness, but I said then it won't help us, so he weakened and said we could. Of course we rushed back to the police station and reported what he had said and when I got home I found Mr. Friedman had left his number for me so I called him and told him and he said 'That's all I need to know. Now I know they brought it into our part of town I can get them!' Some time later the Hadar Police Station called and said 'Your car has been located and you will get it back tomorrow so don't worry.' Mr. Friedman also phoned and said the same thing, and sure enough, about 11 a.m. the 4th he phoned and said he could come and get Gladys to get the car and she drove up to Hadar Police Station and got it! My Goodness, we were all happy! The funny thing is, on our way home, before going to that store I had been saying only a miracle could get it back!
"But it now seems that the 5 young armed Jews (written of separately) who came here just after the Jews took Haifa, and who [page 173] claimed to be Haganah men, and the young fellows in a jeep (the jeep appears all along the line so I think it forms a connecting link) who B" one night found trying to break into the garage and he told them he would open it, they need not break the door in, and they went in and circled the car and he finally said 'If you want to know all about whose car this is come and phone your superiors, come phone Dr. Weinshall' and then they hastily departed - anyway we all now believe they were always the same men and probably Irgun Zvi Leumi men, certainly not Haganah!"
[14-5-48] "Tonight the Mandate ends at midnight! War starts, is raging already, what does the future hold?...Daddy and Ben are supposed get back tomorrow! I am tired!"
[15-5-48] "Dad comes home! I could hear heavy fire in the hills between here and Nakura, the Lebanese frontier. yesterday too, when the Jews took Akka, we heard heavy firing, but now all the time the rattle of machine guns is clearly audible. It reminds me of the days when the British took the Lebanon during the war - only then we were sure the battle would go away from us. Now, who knows? And the distances in Palestine are so tiny - ten miles can change the whole course of a battle, success or defeat...
"Dad and Ben, met by Gladys, got up to the house by 1:30 p.m. They came on the S.S. Argentina, got here last night, two days ahead of schedule as they skipped both Alexandria and Tel Aviv. their trip has been marvelously successful in every way. How can one ever thank God for His miracles and mercies?"
[3-7-48] "Today, as Shoghi Effendi said to Daddy who had come over this evening to see him after dinner, 'Well, the historic decision to commence work on the Shrine has been taken at 10:15 (p.m.) today!' and he shook hands with him!... P.S. 11:30 p.m. I can hear explosions in the distance. God help this poor country!"
[6-7-48] "Shoghi Effendi is greatly concerned that maybe on Friday war will start again. What a terrible prospect. As he told Ben and Gladys and me the worst threat is to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. Now that Majdi-d-din and Shoah Bahá'í are living in the Mansion - if the Arabs come, the consequences are only too clear - oh dear, so many burdens, so many problems...if it were not for faith where would we be?
"He praised Dad very highly to Ben and Gladys, said everyone loves him, he has a very pure heart and that aside from all that he chose him for his qualifications as an architect." [page 174]
[12-28-48] "I feel so exhausted. I don't seem this year to have any "resistance left to life...it feels serious, but maybe it is not. I hope not, for poor as I am, I am still needed, still better than nothing...
"Tonight Solel Boneh's bid came in for building the Arcade 18,000 [pounds]. Terrible! Shoghi Effendi is very distressed and discouraged; now the stones are here and coming; he has torn up the tiling, put in the foundation, torn down the curve of the mountain behind the Shrine! He says he will not pay anywhere near this price - oh dear! So many problems, problems. God give me strength to serve and keep my poor nerves going-"
[20-1-49] "This will be a sort of short-hand noting of news. The weather has been foul - just when we have 80 odd cases still in the port to take up to the Shrine. I just can't sleep for listening to the rain. It wakes me up because I know it is delaying the work...just one thing after another all the time. We all seem to run faster and faster this year, owing to the Shrine work."
[21-1-49] "What a day, what a day. Days like this should be against the law. Last night an invitation to meet the Prime Minister at the Municipal Reception was received by the Guardian. He decided to send Daddy and Ben. Today the loading at the port, after four days rain, was to begin again. It has all been bedlam...
"Just now, at four fifteen, the Mayor phones me in person and says he has 'done his duty' and arranged for the Guardian to call on Ben Gurion at 7:15 tonight at Mr. D" 's house on the top of the mountain...It may all seem like nothing on paper - but it just about kills those who live through it all. Everything here is done the hard way. But I am very glad the Guardian is going to meet the Prime Minister. Last night, when he decided it would be very inappropriate to go himself to the reception, he told me he would be willing to make a concession and call on the Prime Minister himself, but not be lost in a crowd or not to be treated as befits his position. So I begged him to let me phone the Mayor and he did and this is the result.
"It is now 7 o'clock and the Guardian Daddy, driven by Ben have just left...As Shoghi Effendi has been trying for twenty-five years to get the Cause here to be recognized as not a local community but a world centre, and he not a local or national head, but a world head, this opportunity to meet the Prime Minister is very important. No doubt Ben Gurion feels he is being very condescending - if only he knew what an honour is being conferred on him and how condescending God is being to him tonight! [page 175] Such is the smallness of men's lives and the vanity of the world. "Well, the interview is over. Lasted about 15 minutes. When they got there the Guardian found the front door ajar, he went in, saw no one, knocked on the door, went further and found Ben Gurion and wife and host finishing their dessert in one of these small houses where alcoves divide the rooms...Ben Gurion got up and took the Guardian into the neighbouring...room and courteously offered him the best seat, and so on. Then he asked some questions about the Cause, said he knew about it, that it is a 'social movement', whereupon the Guardian said it was much more than that, divinely inspired from God, etc. He put it not too strongly. Ben Gurion also asked his exact relation to the Faith and was told.
"The Guardian did not want to keep him from his dinner and after a short interview rose to go. Ben Gurion took him to the other door and a servant to the car and opened the door....
"Ben Gurion asked the Guardian if there was a history of the Cause he could read and Shoghi Effendi said he would be pleased to send him a book. [He sent him God Passes By.] He also said he would be happy to show him the Shrines if ever he had the opportunity, but the Prime Minister said he was terribly busy, which can be taken as a refusal, I guess...It was obviously very courteous of a man as rushed as Ben Gurion two days before the general election, to fit an interview in and I think it was a really friendly act on Mayor Levy's part to arrange it. The first thing the Guardian said was that he wished to reaffirm in person the sentiments he had expressed in his letter which the Prime Minister remembered receiving. Ben Gurion said yes, of course,...The Guardian was very warm to him, he told me, and I am sure his wonderfully clear, sincere and frank personality must have impressed a man who must be a shrewd judge of human nature..."
[8-2-48] "At 3 in the morning the lighter sank with all our stones on it! Just one more nice happening. When I told Shoghi Effendi he said 'I don't care anymore!' This was all that remained - as far as we can see! The weather, the eternal complications, and now this! They can salvage it - so I hear."
[11-2-48] "Shoghi Effendi is almost all day, every day, up in the Gardens due to the excavations behind the Shrine, etc., which he is directing personally to economize."
[5-4-49] "Shoghi Effendi saw Gladys and Ben (and me) in the drawing room, as he does sometimes when he has time. I saw he had mud on [page 176] his coat and asked what he had been doing? He said 'I had a fight with General Mud, only he won!' Then he explained he had fallen down again, it was so slippery from the rain - but we all had a good laugh."
[3-4-52] "I doubt if I have time or strength to keep a diary anymore - which is a pity as I see and know so much of the inner workings here..."
[15-9-55] "I suppose there are as many hells as there are people. But not many, I hope, live in the particular hell Shoghi Effendi and I do. If someone should ask me to define it I would say that though there are so many kinds, in principle there are two divisions: hell without responsibility and hell with responsibility..." [For those who may not understand the English usage of the word "hell" as employed here, I mean agony, intense, burning suffering.]
[14-11-55] "Word reached the Guardian Varqa has died. Shoghi Effendi said 'He was the finest man we had.' Of course it was expected for a long time, but he feels the loss as there are so few outstanding, capable Bahá'ís." [page 177]