'Abdu'l-Bahá in America
25 March to 7 December 1912
HE IS GOD!
O thou candle of the Love of God!
Thy numerous letters were received. According to the promise, by the Will of God, I shall embark on the boat 25 March and in the latter part reach Naples, where I shall stay a few days and from thence start for New York.
Verily, this is great glad tidings.
Twelve o'clock, 25 March 1912
It is just midnight. TODAY the Master sails for America. I feel His Presence strongly.
5 Avenue and 10th Street.
My dear Juliet:
I understand that Abdul Baha is to arrive in New York 10 April--that is, in Easter week,--so that the 14 April would be his first Sunday in New York.
If his friends in this city would feel any value or assistance in having him speak at the eleven o'clock service in the Church of the Ascension, in place of my sermon, I shall be more than happy to invite him to the Ascension pulpit in my place. I should like to show so important and splendid a person, and those who love him, whatever hospitality and goodwill can be expressed in this town, by such a plan.
If, however, his coming in the middle of the week means that he ought to get more quickly into public contact with the city, which may well be the case if his stay is brief, then I would offer the Church of the Ascension to the committee in charge of his affairs to
have any kind of service they please, in the daytime or evening, between his arrival, let us say 10 April--and the following Sunday.
That is to say I make one of two propositions: to offer him my pulpit Sunday, 14 April, at eleven a.m., or to offer the Church, unhampered by any form of service, between the tenth and the fourteenth.
(signed) Percy S. Grant
I wrote thanking him and asking him to get in touch with the committee of arrangements, Mr Mills and Mr MacNutt.
The Church of the Ascension.
My dear Juliet:
I thank you for your nice letter about Abdul Baha. Whatever may seem most agreeable to those having the matter in charge will be altogether satisfactory to me.
Whatever I can do I hope you will allow me to do, to honour such a distinguished visitor from the East--one so loved by my friends.
Believe me to be faithfully yours,
(signed) Percy S. Grant
8 April 1912
Little did I dream when I began this diary what I would write in its closing pages! This morning I telephoned Percy.
"This is Juliet."
"I want to tell you two things. First, 'Abdu'l-Bahá is on the Cedric and will arrive Wednesday morning. And--is your time very full Thursday? For I think He will send for you almost at once."
"Wait. Let me get my card, Juliet. No, I have no engagements for Thursday, except in the evening, and could come any time during the day to see Him. I am very happy. I shall be very glad to see the Master, Juliet."
"As soon as He arrives, someone will let you know."
I then brought up the second thing.
"I'd like to explain something," I said. "Has Dr Guthrie got into touch with you?"
"Then I hardly need to explain. But it was this: Charles James had heard some rumour that the Master was to speak in your church. He mentioned this to Dr Guthrie, who immediately wanted to offer his church, too. This morning a letter came from Dr Guthrie inviting the Master to speak on the night of the fourteenth. I tell you all this really to say that it was not through me Dr Guthrie heard of your plans."
"I am a very easy person, Juliet, in misunderstandings."
"I know that."
"And I am glad Dr Guthrie has made the same offer that I have."
"No one has made the same offer you have."
It was then he repeated something he had said to Mr MacNutt; I can't remember just what.
"That was beautiful of you," I answered.
"No, it was not. And Juliet: I don't want you to feel that this is a favour. I want you to feel--to understand--that you have a proprietary interest in the church: a proprietary interest; that it is yours to give. The church is yours. The Parish House is yours. The Rectory is yours. We will ask the Master to the Rectory and form little groups to meet Him. I don't want to bore you, Juliet," (oh imagine him boring me!) "but I want you to feel that it is yours, this house. Here it is, just at the end of the street. Ask anyone to the Rectory, anyone you wish. You may eliminate the Rector, if you would rather not have me here ..." This and much more. He contradicted that last statement once. "I want you," he said, with his appealing boyishness, "to come around me again, Juliet." His voice broke. He stammered a little and ended. "I am a tongue-tied person when it comes to strong feeling."
"I should like," I said, "to take you by the hand and lead you to the Master myself."
"I want you to, Juliet. I don't want to do it any other way. I want you to be there. I don't want to do it without you."
"Then we will meet on Thursday. We will see each other on Thursday in His Presence. I think it will be beautiful to meet there."
"It will be the north and the south in His Presence, Juliet."
"The Master has loved you a long time, Percy, for your work."
"Some people say they are loved for their enemies, Juliet. If I am loved, it is for my friends."
10 April 1912. 11:15 p.m.
Tomorrow He comes! Who comes? "Who is this that cometh from Bozrah?"
This is a night of holy expectation. The air is charged with sanctity. I can almost hear the Gloria in Excelsis.
How close He is tonight! Is it His prayers I feel? Why has earth become suddenly divine?
The Master comes TODAY!
11 April 1912
Oh day of days!
I was wakened this morning while it was yet dark by something shining into my eyes. It was a ray from the moon, its waning crescent framed low in my windowpane.
Symbol of the Covenant, was my first thought. How perfectly beautiful to be wakened today by it! But at once I remembered another time when I had seen the
waning moon hanging, then, above palm trees. I was on the roof of the House in 'Akká with the Master and Munavvar Khánum. The Master was pointing to the moon. "The East. The moon. No!" He said. "I am the Sun of the West."
At dawn, kneeling at my window, I prayed in the swelling light for all this land, now sleeping, that it would wake to received its Lord; conscious, as I prayed, of an overshadowing Sacred Presence: a great, glorious, burning Presence--the Sun of Love rising. This fiery dawn was but a pale symbol of such a rising.
Between seven and eight I went to the pier with Marjorie Morten and Rhoda Nichols. The morning was crystal clear, sparkling. I had a sense of its being Easter: of lilies, almost seen, blooming at my feet.
All the believers of New York had gathered at the pier to meet the Master's ship. Marjorie and I had suggested to them that the Master might not want this public demonstration, but their eagerness was too great to be influenced by just two, and so we had gone along with them--only too glad to do so, to tell the truth.
During the morning the harbour misted over. At last, in the mist we saw: a phantom ship! And at that very moment some newsboys ran through the crowd, waving Extras. "The Pope is dead! The Pope is dead!" they shouted. The Pope was not dead. The Extras had been printed only on a rumour; but what a symbol, and how exactly timed!
Closer and closer, ever more substantial, came that historic ship, that epoch-making ship, till at last it swam out solid into the light, one of the Persians sitting in the bow in his long robes, 'abá, and turban. This was Siyyid
Asadu'lláh, a marvellous, witty old man, who had come with the Master to prepare His meals.
He told us later that when the ship was approaching the harbour and the Master saw, as His first view of America, the Wall Street skyscrapers, He had laughed and said: "Those are the minarets of the West." What divine irony!
The ship docked, but the Master did not appear. Suddenly I had a great glimpse. In the dim hall beyond the deck, striding to and fro near the door, was One with a step that shook you! Just that one stride, charged with power, the sweep of a robe, a majestic head, turban crowned--that was all I saw, but my heart stopped.
Marjorie's instinct and mine had been true. Mr Kinney was called for to come on board the ship. He returned with a disappointing message. The Master sent us His love but wanted us to disperse now. He would meet us all at the Kinneys' house at four.
Everyone obeyed at once except Marjorie, Rhoda, and myself! Marjorie, who loves the Teachings but has never wholly accepted them, said: "I can't leave till I've seen Him. I can't. I WON'T!" So, though we followed the crowd to the street, we slipped away there and looked around for some place to hide. Quite a distance below the big entrance to the pier we saw a fairly deep embrasure into which a window was set, with the stone wall jutting out from it. Here we flattened ourselves against the window, Rhoda (who is conspicuously tall) clasping a long white box of lilies which she had brought for the Master. Just in front of the entrance stood Mr.
Mills' car, his chauffeur in it. Suddenly it rolled forward and, to our utter dismay, parked directly in front of us. Now we were caught: certain to be discovered. But there was no help for it, for Marjorie still refused to budge till she had seen the Master.
Then, He came--through the entrance with Mr MacNutt and Mr Mills, and turned and walked swiftly toward the car. In a panic we waited.
A few nights ago Marjorie and I had a double dream. In her dream, I was out in space with her. In mine, we were in a room together and the Master had just entered it. He walked straight up to Marjorie, put His two hands on her shoulders and pressed and pressed till she sank to her knees. And while she was sinking, she lifted her face to His and everything in her seemed to be dying except her soul, which looked out through her raised eyes in a sort of agony of recognition.
Today, after one glance at the Master, this was just the way she looked.
"Now," she said, "I know."
As the Master was stepping into the car, He turned and--smiled at us.
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá holding a child.]
made a dark background for His Glory. Only our tears reflected Him, and almost everyone there was weeping just at the sight of Him. For at last we saw divinity incarnate. Divinely He turned His head from one child to the other, one group to another. I wish I could picture that turn of the head--an oh, so tender turn, with that indescribable heavenly grace caught by Leonardo da Vinci in his Christ of the Last Supper (in the study for the head)--but in 'Abdu'l-Bahá irradiated by smiles and a lifting of those eyes filled with glory, which even Leonardo, for all his mystery, could not have painted. The very essence of compassion, the most poignant tenderness is in that turn of the head.
The next morning early the Master telephoned me (that is, Ahmad telephoned for Him) and nearly every morning after. Can you imagine the sweetness of that--to be wakened every morning by a word from Him? Sometimes He just inquired how I was, but often He called me to Him.
When I first went to see Him He asked me only one question. "How is your mother?"
"Not very well, my Lord."
"What is the matter?"
"She is grieving." And I told Him why. My brother is soon to be married to a quite beautiful, brilliant girl who, however, doesn't want to make friends with his family!
"Bring your mother to Me," He said. "I will comfort her."
He sent for her that very night. I was terribly afraid she wouldn't go--she has been so opposed to my work in the
Cause--and Ahmad called up in the midst of a thunderstorm! But when I took the message to her--that the Master wished her to come to Him now--she jumped up from her chair and began to scurry around.
"Just wait till I get my rubbers," she said.
We found Him exhausted, lying on His bed. He had seen hundreds of people that day, literally, at a big reception and in His own rooms. Mamma, who is very shy and undemonstrative, rushed to the bedside and fell on her knees.
"Welcome, welcome!" said the Master. "You are very welcome, Mrs Thompson.
"You must be very thankful for your daughter. Praise be to God, she is a daughter of the Kingdom. If she were an earthly daughter, of what use would she be to you? At best she could do you a little material good. But she is a heavenly daughter, a daughter of the Kingdom. Therefore she is the means of drawing your soul nearer to God. Her value to you is not apparent now. When one possesses a thing its value is not realized. But you will realize later. Mary Magdalene was but a villager; she was even scorned by the people, but now her name moves the whole earth, and in the Kingdom of God she is very near. Your daughter is kind to you. If your son is faithless, she is faithful. She will become dearer and dearer to you. She will take the place of your son. But in the end your son will be very good. This is only temporary.
"I became very grieved today when, upon inquiring for you, I heard of your sorrow. And now I want to comfort you. Trust in God. God is kind. God is faithful. God never forgets you. If others are unkind what difference does it make when God is kind? When God is on your
side it does not matter what men do to you. But your son will be good in the end.
"God is kind to you. And I am going to be kind to you. And I am faithful!"
Mamma, still on her knees, bent and kissed His hand. "Tell the Master," she said to Ahmad, "I have always loved Him. Lua knows that." (If Lua knew, I certainly didn't.)
"I have no need of a witness," the Master answered, so tenderly. "My heart knows."
The next day Mamma said to me: "All my bitterness has gone. The Master must be helping me."
It was on Saturday, 13 April, that Mamma and I visited the Master. On Friday He had called me early, asking me to meet Him at the MacNutts'.
I shall never cease to see Him as He looked speaking from their stairway, standing below a stained glass window in a ray of sunlight, the powerful head, the figure in its flowing robes, outlined in light.
The Master has a strange quality of beautifying His environment, of throwing a glamour over it and blotting out the ugly. The MacNutts' house is ugly; the one redeem-
ing feature of that stairway, its window. All I saw as the Master stood there was Himself, the window, the ray of light. His words lifted my soul on wings!
In the evening Friday He spoke in Miss Phillips' studio. The enormous room was packed. At his dear invitation I sat [on] His right (I suppose because I had given Miss Phillips the Message); Marjorie at His left near Him. In the simple setting of that studio, its overhead light filling the deep forms of His face with shadow, He looked ruggedly, powerfully beautiful. His words I will not give. They have been kept.
The very day He arrived, Thursday, the Master sent for Percy Grant, but He appointed Friday to see him, in the afternoon. I was not invited to the interview, so in spite of the happy arrangement Percy and I had made, I knew I should have to stay away. Nor was I told very much about it, only that the Master had planned with Dr Grant to accept his church for Sunday (the fourteenth) for His first address in New York, choosing the Church of the Ascension out of thirteen other--and some of the clergy had even wired to Gibraltar offering their pulpits for that date! And one other very little thing (Mr MacNutt himself gave me this scrap of news): as he was standing with Dr Grant at the elevator after leaving the Master's suite, Dr Grant said to him: "You can't help but love the old gentleman."
To me Percy put it more elegantly: "The Master compels one's love and esteem. What He radiates is peace and love."
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá in New York in the garden of Howard MacNutt, 1912.]
Saturday, 13 April, the Master spoke at Marjorie Morten's. Again, because of the crowd, He spoke from the stairway, dominating all the beauty of Marjorie's long drawing room, with its rich colour and carvings and masterly paintings, by His superlative beauty.
His theme that day was the spiritual seasons, and in the midst of His talk a delicious thing happened which, slight though it was, I want to keep. In its very slightness it may draw the people of the future closer to the Master, just as it drew us.
These tender little touches of His humour and simplicity, bridging for the moment the infinite space between us and His pure Perfection, making His Divinity accessible: how precious, how heavenly sweet they are, of what unique value! The disciples of Christ, looking beyond that awful chasm of the crucifixion into the mystery of their days with Him, were, I suppose, awed into silence about the little things--the adorable little things. So the Man of sorrow has been just the Man of sorrow to us. We have never formed any conception of the Man of love and joy, great buoyant joy; a Christ whose Love overflowed into little tendernesses and Whose joy overflowed into fun and wit--a happy, smiling, laughing Christ. And yet I am sure He was that.
But now to tell of this small thing. With His celestial eloquence the Master had described the spiritual springtime.
"Va tábistán," He began and paused for Ahmad to translate.
Dead silence. Poor Ahmad had lost the English word.
But while he stood helpless, the Master supplied it Himself.
"Summer!" He laughed. Whereupon a little ripple of delight ran through the audience. His charm had captured them all.
After the meeting He went up to rest in Mr Morten's room. He had seen a hundred and forty people that morning and was so worn out at the end of His talk that He looked almost ill. His fatigue was apparent to everyone--and yet the people had no pity. When I returned from an errand to the kitchen, literally hundreds were streaming toward His room; a dozen were in the room; in the hall were many peering faces, and climbing up the stairs--a procession!
"Oh can't we shut the door?" I asked Dr Faríd. But the Master heard me.
"Let them come now," He said gently.
A mother with a baby stood near the door. The Master took the baby from her and tenderly pressed it to His heart. "Beautiful baby! Little chicken!" He said in His dear English; then explained that "little chicken" was the Turkish pet name for child.
A young single-taxer began to question Him. "What message shall I take to my friends?" he ended.
"Tell them," laughed the Master (that wonderful spicy humour in His face) "to come into the Kingdom of God. There they will find plenty of land and there are no taxes on it."
Sunday. Oh, Sunday!
At the Master's own invitation I met Him at the Rectory, a half hour before the service.
As Miss Barry was holding her Sunday school class downstairs, we were invited upstairs, to the back room on the second floor. There, with the Master and the Persians and Edward Getsinger, I waited in supreme happiness. Very soon Percy came in. Approaching the Master, he bent his head reverently.
"In New Testament language," he said, "this would be called an upper chamber."
The Master smiled sweetly and took his hand.
After he left, the Master turned to me. "This is a dish you have cooked for Me, Juliet," He laughed.
"I hope it is cooked all the way through!"
"Inshá'lláh," smiled the Master.
"I have more dishes to serve to You when You are rested," I ventured.
"I hope they are light," He replied, "and will rest easily on My digestion. Most of these dishes are so heavy!"
I inquired for dear Rúhá Khánum, who has been very ill.
"I have put her in the hands of the Blessed Perfection," said our Lord, "and now I don't worry at all."
He spoke of my mother very lovingly.
"Tell her to trust in God," He repeated. "Tell her that God is faithful. Read the Hidden Words to her."
The time came to go to the church. The Persians, Edward Getsinger, and I went first: marching in, as Percy had planned it, with the processional, bringing up the rear of the processional! For nearly a year I hadn't once entered the Church of the Ascension; and now, what a very surprising return!
The Master waited in the vestry-room.
When I try to express the perfection of that service--I mean, the arrangement of it--I can find no words. It was the conception of an artist, of a true poet. The altar and the whole chancel were banked with calla lilies. On the back of the Bishop's chair hung a victor's wreath, an exact reproduction of the Greek victor's wreath, classically simple: a small oval of laurel with its leaves free at the top. Its meaning went to my heart.
Dr Grant read first a prophecy from the Old Testament pointing directly to this Day, to Bahá'u'lláh; then the thirteenth Chapter of Corinthians. These were not the lessons for the day but specially chosen.
At the end of the Second Lesson, just as the choir began to sing in a great triumphant outburst "Jesus Lives!" 'Abdu'l-Bahá with that step of His, which has been described as the walk of either a shepherd or a king, entered the chancel, "suddenly come to His Temple!" Percy Grant had quietly left his seat and gone into the vestry-room and had returned with the Master, holding His hand. For a moment they stood at the altar beneath that fine mural, The Resurrection by John La Farge; then with beautiful deference Percy led the Master to the Bishop's chair. (This broke the nineteenth canon of the Episcopal Church, which forbids the unbaptized to sit behind the altar rail!)
The prayers over, Dr Grant made a short introductory address, speaking not from the pulpit but the chancel steps. Never shall I forget what I saw then. Percy, strong and erect, with his magnificently set head ("like the head of some Viking" as Howard MacNutt says), giving, with a fire even greater than usual--with a strange, sparkling magnetism--the Bahá'í Message to his congre-
gation; and behind him: a flashing Face, unlike the face of any mortal, haloed by the victor's wreath, visibly inspiring him. For with every flash from those eyes, which were fixed on Dr Grant, would appear a fresh charge of energy in him. There was something wonderfully rhythmic in this transmission of fire to the words and the delivery of the man speaking. Was it the sign of some susceptibility in this hitherto unyielding man to the power of 'ABDU'L-BAHá? Or was it just that Power: transcendent, irresistible, quickening whom it chose?
"May the Lord lift the light of His Countenance upon you." Ah, what happens when the Lord does!
How can I tell of that moment when the Master took the place of Percy Grant on the chancel steps? When, standing in His flowing robes there, He turned His unearthly Face to the people and said: "Dr Grant has just read from the thirteenth Chapter of Corinthians that the day would come when you would see face to face."
It was too great to put into words; it was almost too great to bear. The pain of intense rapture pierced my heart. Could the people fail to recognize? Oh, had they recognized what would He not have revealed to them? But He could go no further. He swerved to another subject.
"I have come hither," He said, "to find that material civilization has progressed greatly, but the spiritual civilization has been left behind. The material civilization is likened unto the glass of a lamp chimney. The spiritual civilization is like the light in that chimney. The material civilization should go hand-in-hand with
the spiritual civilization. Material civilization may be likened unto a beautiful body, while spiritual civilization is the spirit that enters the body and gives to it life. With the propelling power of spiritual civilization the result will be greater.
"His Holiness Jesus Christ came to this world that the people might have through Him the civilization of Heaven, a spirit of oneness with God. He came to breathe the spirit into the body of the world. There must be oneness in the world of man. When this takes place we will have the Most Great Peace.
"Today the body politic needs the oneness of the world and universal peace. But to spread the feeling of peace and firmly implant it in the minds of men a certain propelling Power is required.
"It is self-evident that spiritual civilization cannot be accomplished through material means, for the interests of the various nations differ. It is self-evident that it cannot be accomplished through patriotism, for countries differ in their ideas of patriotism. It is impossible save through spiritual power. Compared with this all other means are too weak to bring about universal peace.
"Man has two wings: his material power and development, and his spiritual understanding and achievements. With one wing alone he cannot fly. Therefore, no matter how far material civilization advances, without the other, great things cannot be accomplished. ... Humanity, generally speaking, is immersed in a sea of materiality ..."
Dr Grant asked the Master to give the benediction. Apparently He gave no blessing but asked for one for us.
Against His high background of lilies He stood, His face uplifted in prayer, His eyes closed, the palms of His
hands uplifted. I seemed to feel streams of Life descending, filling those cupped hands. On either side of Him knelt the clergymen, facing the altar. Percy Grant's head was bowed low. It was a breathless moment. Then the Master raised His resonant voice and chanted.
The recessional hymn was "Christ our Lord has risen again."
How can words tell what I realized, or thought I realized, at that incomparable service?
This church had been my cross for years, from which I had never been able to escape--though twice I had made the attempt, twice wrenching myself away, only to be guided back by what seemed to me in each instance the clear Will of God, expressed through a striking miracle. Guided back to mortal pain. Was I seeing, this morning, divine results of this pain?
And not only had I suffered more vitally here than in any other place, prayed more passionately; not only had it been the scene of my deepest inner conflict, but the cause of all this had been dramatically enacted here. Here in this pulpit, with all his great force, his disturbing magnetism and the fire of his eloquence, Percy Grant had opposed my unshakeable belief, thundering denunciations of "the subtle", "the Machiavellian Oriental" (God forgive me for quoting this)--of the slumbering and superstitious Orient--the Orient that brought to the West "nothing but disease and death"--determined to conquer this Faith of mine which made me resistant to him. He had even gone so far as to openly name "the Bahá'í sect" in his pulpit and to warn his flock against it.
And now, framing that matchless head of the Master, who sat there so still in His Glory, hung the victor's
wreath! Oh for words vivid and sublime enough to make you see Him sitting there, in the very spot where He had been so violently denied!
The Master took me back into the Rectory, into the big, dark front room. Percy rushed in for a moment, still in his surplice, his cheeks flushed, his eyes very bright and blue.
"Juliet," he called, looking in from the dining room, "ask if the Master wants anything: tea, coffee, water--anything; then tell Thomas" (the butler).
But the Master wanted nothing except to wait to see Dr Grant (who was being detained in the church) and He filled me with indescribable joy by inviting me to wait with Him, sitting beside Him.
I sat there, happier it seemed to me than I had ever been in my life. I was in the Presence of my Lord, and the one I loved best in all this human world had at last recognized Him. For what else had that exquisite service meant, with the Resurrection stressed all through it? Such a bold acknowledgement, such a daring action in the very church itself could not have been insincere. It never occurred to me to doubt it.
But time passed and Percy did not come back. A great crowd arrived before he did. Someone, using the private way from the church, had left the door open and the people began to surge in. And then (while my heart sank with disappointment) the Master made a swift exit.
Too late Mrs Grant, Percy's dear mother, entered the room. It was a dramatic entrance. She ran in, distractedly, glancing from side to side, obviously looking for the Master. Not seeing Him there, she exclaimed: "If only I could have had His blessing! That Figure makes me think of the plains of Judea."
At that very instant Mr Mills, who had gone out with
the Master, reappeared. "'Abdu'l-Bahá," he said, "is asking for Mrs Grant."
I stood at the street door and watched. The Master was sitting in Mr Mills' car, just in front of the house. I saw Mrs Grant approach it, kneel in the street and bow her head. I saw Him place His hands on her head.
A year ago I had a dream. I was in the People's Forum, stooping and kissing Mrs Grant. She looked up through tears. "I have seen the Master," she said in my dream. "He spoke to me. Oh there was never such a Face in the world!"
Now, on the steps of the Rectory, as she returned from the car, she looked up through tears.
"I got my blessing, Juliet," she said, "and I didn't have to ask for it."
I went back to the church to thank Percy Grant and found him alone. His last parishioner had just gone. For a moment we stood with clasped hands.
"You made everything so beautiful. I can't find the right words to thank you."
"My darling," he said, "my darling--"
Something in his look--something false--woke me. Sick at heart, I turned away.
That night how I hungered to see the Master. My heart burned to see Him. I went to the telephone. Ah, these days when just by a telephone call we can reach Him! One of the Persians answered my call.
"Is the Master well tonight? Is He resting?" I asked.
"He is in His room, reading Tablets."
"Tell Him my heart is burning for Him just as it used to in Haifa."
"The Master says: come at once to Him."
And scarcely was I seated in His room when He began to speak of Percy Grant. He spoke with great love, with great appreciation of the service Percy had rendered, but told me to be very careful in my relations with him.
"You must keep your acquaintance, Juliet, absolutely formal."
Then He gave me this message: "Convey to Dr Grant My greetings. Say: I will not forget the services thou hast rendered yesterday. They are engraved on the book of My heart. I will mention thy name everywhere. And know thou this: This matter of yesterday will become most wonderful in the history of the world. The world of existence will not forget yesterday. Thousands of years hence the mention of yesterday will be heard and it will become history that you were the founder of this work.
"I ask of God for you all those things I have asked for Myself and they are: that thou mayest become a sincere servant of God and serve in the Kingdom of God and become sanctified and holy; that thou mayest find a pure and enlightened heart, an illumined face; become the cause that the lights of spiritual morals may illumine the hearts in this country and that they may be illumined in the world of the Kingdom; become the promoter of Truth and deliver the souls from ignorance and prejudice. I supplicate to the Kingdom of God for you, and I will never forget the love that was manifested yesterday.
"I hope," said the Master, turning to me, "that he will become a believer, but I do not know. The rectorship of that church is in the way. If he could give it up of his own volition, then he might become a believer."
He spoke of my dear mother: "Convey to thy mother the greetings of Abhá. Say to her: Always remember My advices. It is my hope that thou mayest forget everything save God. Nothing in this world is sufficient for man. God alone is sufficient for him. God is the Protector of man. All the world will not protect the soul."
I sent Percy Grant the message and later he telephoned me.
"That was a wonderful, wonderful message," he said, his voice strangely upset.
I sat in a box with Bolton Hall, one of our fashionable intellectuals, a lean, elegant person with an Emersonian face. Turning to him for a moment, I asked: "What do you see?"
"Nothing, dear child, nothing."
16 April 1912
This morning the Master agreed to speak at the Bowery Mission.
"I want to give them some money," He said to me. "I am in love with the poor. How many poor men go to the Mission?"
"About three hundred, my Lord."
"Take this bill to the bank, Juliet, and change it into quarters," and He drew from His pocket a thousand-
franc note. "Have them put the quarters in a bag. Keep the money and meet Me at the Mission with it."
He handed another thousand-franc note, with the same instructions, to Edward Getsinger.
As I left His room, lilies of valley in my hand, a young chambermaid stopped me. "Did He give you those?" she asked. "He gave me some flowers yesterday. Roses. I think He is a great Saint."
"I love Dr Grant," he began. "He has rendered Me a great service. I love him very much, but I want you to be careful."
"My Lord, I believe my heart is severed," I said. "I don't know but I believe so."
He looked at me with arch incredulity: "No? Really?" He said.
"What do you know about it?" the Master asked.
"May knows everything about it."
"Well, has she helped you? How far has her help gone? Has it been sufficient for you?"
"She has helped me, but only God is sufficient when love has gone as deep as that."
"I know. Now, can you transfer this love to God?"
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá walking down Riverside Drive in New York, 1912]
"To God I can. To You."
"No. To God."
"Yes ... I can ... to God."
"That will be enough! I shall try to make no more marriages," laughed the Master. "When you have really given up," He added, "he will come after you."
"I love Dr Grant," He continued, "very, very much, but I want to protect you."
"May I ask a question?" said May. "If Juliet put the thought of Dr Grant forever out of her mind, would this be good?"
But the Master answered evasively: "If he would become a believer and marry Juliet it would please Me very much."
"Don't we tire You?" I asked a little later. "Oughtn't we to leave You now?"
"No, stay. You rest Me. You make Me laugh!" He answered.
18 April 1912
I asked Mrs Wright if she would invite Percy to hear the Master speak at the Bowery Mission. His reply has just come through her. He said: "Give Juliet my love and my excuses. Tell her I prefer to be remembered by Him in the Church of the Ascension. Tell her this and she will understand."
Dr Hallimond asked me for the third time to give the Bahá'í Message at the Mission. I had refused twice before because my dear mother wouldn't allow me to go there. But this third invitation I felt I must accept. So, for the first time in my life, I deceived Mamma! Silvia Gannett helped me out. (By the way her marriage has been postponed.) She invited me to dine, then went to the Mission with me. The only thing Mamma knew was that I was dining with Silvia.
The weather that night was terrible: snowing, sleeting, bitterly cold. The Mission was packed with homeless men, some of whom had been driven in by the cold and the storm and were there for no other reason. Among these, I learned afterward, was John Good--may he ever be blessed! Wonderfully named was John Good! He had been released from Sing Sing that very day: an enormous man with a head like a lion and a great shock of white hair. From his boyhood he had spent his life in one prison or another and now, in his old age, had behaved so rebelliously in Sing Sing that they would punish him in the most painful way, hanging him up by his thumbs! Full of hate he had come out of prison, and full of hate and without one grain of belief in anything, he sat among the derelicts in the Mission, forced in by the storm.
And that night (knowing nothing of John Good) I was moved to tell the men how 'Abdu'l-Bahá came out of prison, full of love for the whole world, even His cruellest enemies.
After I had finished speaking, Dr Hallimond said: "We have heard from Juliet Thompson that 'Abdu'l-Bahá will be here in April. How may of you would like to invite Him to speak at the Mission? Will those who wish it please stand?"
The whole three hundred rose to their feet.
"Now," added Dr Hallimond, taking me by surprise, "how many would like to study the thirteenth Chapter of Corinthians with Miss Thompson and myself?"
Thirty rose this time, including John Good and a poor alcoholic named Hannegan, a long, lanky, red-haired Irishman.
"Then we will meet every Wednesday at eight p.m. and learn something about this Love of which 'Abdu'l-Bahá is our Great Example."
And every Wednesday evening after that John Good and Hannegan came, with the twenty-eight others.
Of course, in order to help Dr Hallimond on these nights, I had had to confess to Mamma this first visit to the Bowery, and she was so touched by the story that she gladly consented to my keeping up the work, especially as Dr Hallimond always came for me and brought me home.
I met Him in the chapel, dragging along with me the huge white bag of quarters. Edward also appeared with a bag of the same size and we sat behind the Master on the platform. Mr MacNutt, Mr Mills, Mr Grundy, and Mr Hutchinson, and of course all the Persians, were seated there too. The long hall was packed to the doors with those poor derelicts who sleep on park benches or doorsteps.
Dr Hallimond called upon me to introduce my Lord, which seemed so presumptuous I could scarcely do it.
Then the Master rose to speak. Here are His heavenly
words: "Tonight I am very happy for I have come here to meet My friends. I consider you my relatives, My companions, and I am your comrade.
"You must be thankful to God that you are poor, for His Holiness Jesus Christ has said: 'Blessed are the poor.' He never said: blessed are the rich! He said too that the Kingdom is for the poor and that it is easier for a camel to enter the needle's eye than for a rich man to enter God's Kingdom. Therefore you must be thankful to God that although in this world you are indigent, yet the treasures of God are within your reach, and although in the material realm you are poor, yet in the Kingdom of God you are precious.
"His Holiness Jesus Himself was poor. He did not belong to the rich. He passed His time in the desert travelling among the poor and lived upon the herbs of the field. He had no place to lay His head--no home. He was exposed in the open to heat, cold, and frost. Yet He chose this rather than riches. If riches were considered a glory, the Prophet Moses would have chosen them; Jesus would have been rich.
"When Jesus appeared it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are His disciples, you are His comrades, for outwardly He was poor, not rich.
"Even this earth's happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death, there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their
hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse and, worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours.
"Praise be to God, our hope is in the mercy of God; and there is no doubt that the divine Compassion is bestowed upon the poor. His Holines Jesus Christ said so; His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh said so.
"While Bahá'u'lláh was in Baghdád, still in possession of great wealth, He left all He had and went alone from the city, living two years among the poor. They were His comrades. He ate with them, slept with them, and gloried in being one of them. He chose for one of His names the title of 'The Poor One' and often in His Writings refers to Himself as 'Darvísh,' which in Persian means poor. And of this title he was very proud. He admonished all that we must be the servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the poor, associate with them, for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
"God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore the poor are nearer the Threshold of God and His Throne.
"Jesus was a poor man. One night when He was out in the fields the rain began to fall. He had no place to go for shelter, so He lifted His eyes toward Heaven, saying: 'O Father! For the birds of the air Thou hast created nests, for the sheep a fold, for the animals dens, for the fishes places of refuge, but for Me Thou hast provided no shelter; there is no place where I may lay My head. My bed is the cold ground, My lamps at night are the stars and My food is the grass of the field. Yet who upon earth is richer than I? For the greatest blessing Thou hast not given to the rich and mighty, but unto Me Thou hast given the poor. To Me Thou hast granted this blessing. They are Mine. Therefore I am the richest man on earth.'
"So, My comrades, you are following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Your lives are similar to His life, your attitude is like unto His, you resemble Him more than the rich resemble Him. Therefore we will thank God that we have been blest with the real riches. And, in conclusion, I ask you to accept 'Abdu'l-Bahá as your Servant."
After the service, the Master and we who were with Him walked down the aisle to the door, while the men in the audience kept their seats. At the end of the aisle the Master paused, called to Edward and me and asked us to stand on each side of Him, with our bags. He was wearing His pongee 'abá and was very shining in white and ivory, His Face like a lighted lamp.
Then down the aisle streamed a sodden and grimy procession: three hundred men in single file. The "breadline". The failures. Broken forms. Blurred faces. How can I picture such a scene? That forlorn host out of the depths, out of the "mud and scum of things"--where nevertheless "something always, always sings". And the
Eternal Christ, reflected in the Mirror of "The Servant", receiving them all, like prodigal sons? stray sheep? No! Like His own beloved children, who "resembled Him more than the rich resembled Him."
Into each palm, as the Master clasped it, He pressed His little gift of silver: just a symbol and the price of a bed. Not a man was shelterless that night. And many, many, I could see, found a shelter in His Heart. I could see it in the faces raised to His and in His Face bent to theirs.
Those interchanged looks--what a bounty to have witnessed them--to have such a picture stamped on my mind forever!
As the men filed toward Him, the Master held out His hand to the first, grasped the man's hand and left something in it. Perhaps five or six quarters, for John Good told me afterward that the completely destitute ones received the most. The man glanced up surprised. His eyes met the Master's look, which seemed to be plunging deep into his heart with fathomless understanding. He, this poor derelict, must have known very little of even human love or understanding; and now, too suddenly, he stood face to face with Divine Love. He looked startled, incredulous--as though he couldn't believe what he saw; then his eyes strained toward the Master, something new burning in them, and the Master's eyes answered with a great flash, revealing a more mysterious, a profounder love. A drowning man rescued, or--taken up into heaven? I saw this repeated scores of times. Some of the men shuffled past, accepting their gift ungraciously, but most of them responded just as the first did.
Who can tell the effect of those immortal glances on
the lives and even, perhaps, at the death of each of these men? Who knows what the Master gave that night?
John never told me this till after the death of Hanegan, or I would have taken him to the Master. But, after all, he--this Bowery tough--had seen the Reality.)
As we drove up Broadway, glittering with its electric
signs, He spoke of them smiling, apparently much amused. Then He told us that Bahá'u'lláh had loved light. "He could never get enough light. He taught us," the Master said, "to economize in everything else but to use light freely."
"It is marvellous," I said, "to be driving through all this light by the side of the Light of lights."
"This is nothing," the Master answered. "This is only the beginning. We will be together in all the worlds of God. You cannot realize here what that means. You cannot imagine it. You can form no conception here in this elemental world of what it is to be with Me in the Eternal Worlds."
"Oh," I cried, "with such a future before me how could my heart cling to any earthly object?"
The Master turned suddenly to me. "Will you do this thing?" He asked. "Will you take your heart from this other and give it wholly to God?"
"Oh, I will try!"
He laughed heartily at this. "First you say you will and then that you will try!"
"That is because I have learned my own weakness. What can I do with my heart?"
And now the Master spoke gravely. "I am very much pleased with that answer, Juliet."
Nine of us were gathered at His table. He sat at the head, Mr Mills on His left, I on His right. Just above Him hung a big round lamp, so that He sat in a pool of strong light while the rest of us were in shadow. In His
ivory-coloured 'abá over the long white robe, His white hair spread out upon His shoulders, He was like some massive statue of a deity carved in alabaster.
For a while He was silent and we surrounded Him, silent. But after He had served the food He began to speak. He told us of the play The Terrible Meek which he had seen that afternoon. It is based on the Crucifixion.
"But such a representation should be complete," He said, and taken from its inception to its consummation. It should be an impersonation of the life of Jesus from the beginning to the end.
"For example: His baptism. The disciples of John the Baptist turning to Him, Jesus. The dawn of Christianity. Then the Christ in the Temple, well portrayed. The meeting of Jesus and Peter on the shore of Tiberias, where Jesus called Peter to follow Him that he might become a fisher of men. The gathering together of the Jews. Their accusations against Jesus. For they said: 'We are expecting certain conditions at the time of the appearance of the Messiah and unless these conditions are fulfilled it is impossible to believe. It is written that He will come from an unknown place. Thou are from Nazareth. We know Thee and Thy people. According to the explicit text of the Scriptures, the Messiah is to wield a sceptre, a sword. Thou hast not even a staff. The Messiah is to be established on the throne of David. But Thou--a throne! Thou hast not so much as a mat. The Messiah is to fulfil the Law of Moses, which will be spread throughout the world. Thou hast broken the Mosaic Law. The Jews, in the time of the Messiah, are to be the conquerors of the world and all men will become their subjects. In the Cycle of the Messiah justice is to
reign. It will be exercised even in the animal kingdom, so that wolf and lamb will quaff water at the same fountain, eagle and quail will dwell in the same nest, lion and deer pasture in the same meadow. But see the oppression and wrong rampant in Thy time! The Jews are the captives of the Romans. Rome has uprooted our foundations, pillaging and killing us. What manner of justice is this?'
"But His Holiness Jesus answered: 'These texts are symbolic. They have an inner meaning. I possess sovereignty, but it is of the eternal type. It is not an earthy empire. Mine is divine, heavenly, everlasting. And I conquer not by the sword. My conquests are by Love. I have a sword, but it is not of iron. My sword is My tongue, which divides Truth from falsehood.'
"Yet they persisted in rejecting Him. 'These are mere interpretations,' they said. 'We will not give up the letter for these.'
"Then they rose against Him, accusing and persecuting Him, inventing libels according to their superstitions.
"'He is a liar. He is the false Christ. Believe Him not. Beware lest ye listen. He will mislead you, will lure you from the religion of your fathers, and will create a turmoil amongst you.'
"Then the scribes and Pharisees consult together: 'Let us hold a conclave and conceive a plan. This man is a deceiver. We must do something. What?'" (The Master gaily mimicked their confusion.) "'Let us expel Him from the country. Let us imprison Him. Ah! Let us refer the matter to the government. Thus the religion of Moses shall be free of Him.'
"After this, the betrayal of Jesus, not by an enemy, not by an outsider, but by one of His own disciples. Dr
Faríd! (I was startled by the sudden, peremptory call of that name.) "By one of His own disciples. Had you been there, Dr Faríd. Had you been there, you would have seen that Mary of Magdala even looked like Juliet."
"Then," continued the Master, "the government will summon Jesus, will bring Him before Pontius Pilate, and these scenes should be fully portrayed ..."
Here I ceased to take notes. I was stabbed to the heart. As He flashed each scene to us with His vivid words and gestures I felt that He was reliving it. When He came to that walk to Golgotha: Jesus, the Saviour, stumbling beneath the weight of His Cross while the mob capered about, bowing backward, mocking "the King of the Jews," I knew He was telling us of remembered anguish.
"And when all this is finished," He said, "then the Terrible Meek will be expressed."
The last scene centred around the disciples, united now and ablaze with the Pentecostal fire. The Master described them surrounded by multitudes, teaching with those "tongues of fire" that His Holiness Jesus had verily been a King--the King of spirits, His sword the Word of God and His reign in the hearts of men.
When the Master had ended we sat so silent that the falling of a rose leaf might have been heard. He broke the silence.
"The voice of Mary lamenting at the Cross today made me think of your voice, Juliet--and Lua's." And then He smiled at me. "Eat, Juliet," He said. For the food on my plate was untouched.
before that she thought Him a great Saint. In my bag were about eighty quarters left over from the Mission. The Master asked the girl to hold up her apron, took the bag from me, and emptied the whole of its contents into the apron. Then He walked quickly toward His suite, we following, all but Mr Grundy whom the maid stopped.
"Oh see what He has given me!" she said. And when Mr Grundy told her about the Mission and the Master's kindness to the men there, "I will do the same with this money. I will give away every cent of it."
Later, when the table was cleared and we were sitting with the Master in another room, talking of the scene at the Mission, someone asked Him if "charity were advisable."
He laughed and, still laughing, said: "Assuredly, give to the poor. If you give them only words, when they put their hands into their pockets after you have gone, they will find themselves none the richer for you!"
And just at that moment we heard a light tap at the door. It opened and there stood the little maid. She came straight towards the Master, seeming not to see anyone else, and her eyes were full of tears.
"I wanted to say goodbye, Sir," she said (for the Master was leaving for Washington early the next morning), "and to thank You for all Your goodness to me--I never expected such goodness--and to ask You ... to pray for me." Her voice broke. She sobbed, hid her face in her apron and rushed from the room.
What an illustration to the Master's words, "assuredly give to the poor," and how wonderfully timed!
Oh, those mornings at the Ansonia in the Master's white sunny rooms, filled with spring flowers and roses!
People poured in to see Him in droves, sometimes a hundred and fifty in one morning. He would become exhausted and receive the latest arrivals in bed. Sitting in the outer room (though frequently called to Him), I would watch them go into His bedroom and come out changed, as though they had had a bath of Life, or like candles that had been lighted in that inner chamber.
Leonard Abbott came out with flushed cheeks and bright eyes. "That beautiful head against the pillows!" he said.
Charles Rand Kennedy, the playwright (author of The Terrible Meek) said: "I was in the Presence of God."
I, myself, took Nancy Sholl in. When we left, she whispered to me: "I could not have stood the vibrations in there one moment longer. Power encircles that bed!"
7 May 1912
Washington was beautiful, the banners of the spring floating out everywhere. Trees along the street in full leaf. Flowering bushes and tulip beds in the parks and in the grass plots in front of houses. The Japanese cherry
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in New York with His entourage, 1912]
trees behind the White House, a long row of coral-pink clouds.
The day I arrived, 23 April, I met the Master at luncheon at the Persian Embassy, where Khán is now acting as minister. The table was strewn with rose petals, as the Master's table always is in 'Akká, and Persian dishes were served.
A coloured man, Louis Gregory, was present and the Master gave a wonderful talk on race prejudice which, however, I will not quote here since it has been kept. And besides, I am longing to catch up with these days, when I am feeling with all my capacity for feeling, when the gates of my heart are flung wide open and fire sweeping through, burning up my heart, when I am seeing through tears the Manifest Glory of the Beloved. I really don't want to write about Washington. This heart was not awakened then.
But He said a lovely thing at Khán's table which I must keep. Mrs Parsons was at the luncheon. Before she became a Bahá'í she had been a Christian Scientist, and now she brought up the question of mental suggestion as a cure for physical disease. The Master replied that some illnesses, such as consumption and insanity, developed from spiritual causes--grief, for example--and that these could be healed by the spirit. But Mrs Parsons persisted. Could not extreme physical cases, like broken bones, also be healed by the spirit?
A large bowl of salad had been placed before the Mas-
ter, Who sat at the head of the table, Florence Khánum on His right.
"If all the spirits in the air," He laughed, "were to congregate together, they could not create a salad! Nevertheless, the spirit of man is powerful. For the spirit of man can soar in the firmament of knowledge, can discover realities, can confer life, can receive the Divine Glad-Tidings. Is not this greater," and He laughed again, "than making a salad?"
One more lovely thing. The servants were late bringing in the dessert and Florence apologized; whereupon little Rahím, standing beside her, spoke up.
"Even the King of Persia has to wait, doesn't He, mother?"
"Rahím dear," explained Florence, 'Abdu'l-Bahá is King of the whole world."
"Oh," said Rahím, very much abashed, "I forgot."
Between the end of lunch and this reception the Master went upstairs to rest and to give a few private interviews. When He reappeared among us, the two living rooms were already crowded. He walked quickly to the open folding doors and standing there at the centre, with a strikingly free and simple bearing, immediately began to speak. His words too were simple and of a captivating sweetness, a startling clarity.
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá with the children of 'Alí Qulí Khán]
Díyá Páshá stood next to me, his eyes riveted on the Master. When the Master had finished speaking, the old diplomat (who is a fierce Muslim) turned to me. "This is irrefutable. This is pure logic," he said.
A few months before, at the request of his daughter-in-law, an American girl and a dear friend of mine, I had given Díyá Páshá the Message. I had had to give it in French, as he doesn't understand English, and, my French being rusty by now, I'm afraid I didn't do it very well: he looked so sceptical, almost contemptuous the whole time I was speaking. But when I said that through the Bahá'í Teaching I had become a Muslim, and convinced him of this by the reverent way I spoke of Muhammad, I really touched Díyá Páshá. He rose from the table, where we were at lunch, left the room, and returned with a precious and very old volume of the Qur'án on illuminated parchment and with a hand-tooled cover. "No Christian eye but yours," he said, "has ever looked upon this."
I was standing beside the Master when Khán brought the Admiral over and introduced him.
The Master spoke charmingly to him and congratulated him on his discovery. Then, with the utmost sweetness, added these surprising words: For a very long time the world had been much concerned about the North Pole, where it was and what was to be found
there. Now he, Admiral Peary, had discovered it and that nothing was to found there; and so, in forever relieving the public mind, he had rendered a great service.
I shall never forget Peary's nonplussed face. The balloon collapsed!
Mrs Parsons house has real distinction. It is Georgian in style and in it has a very long white ballroom with, at one end, an unusually high mantel--the mantel, as well as the ceiling and panelled walls, delicately carved with garlands. At the windows hang thin silk curtains the colour of jonquil leaves.
Here, after this first reception, the Master spoke daily in the afternoon and the whole fashionable world flocked to hear Him. Scientists too, and even politicians came!
In front of the mantel, a platform had been placed for the Master and every day it was banked with fresh roses, American Beauties.
Into this room of conventional elegance, packed with conventional people, imagine the Master striding with His free step: walking first to one of the many windows and, while He looked out into the light, talking with His matchless ease to the people. Turning from the window, striding back and forth with a step so vibrant it shook you. Piercing our souls with those strange eyes, uplifting them, glory streaming upon them. Talking, talking, moving to and fro incessantly. Pushing back His turban, revealing that Christ-like forehead; pushing it forward again almost down to His eyebrows, which gave Him a
peculiar majesty. Charging, filling the room with magnetic currents, with a mysterious energy. Once He burst in, a child on His shoulder. For a moment He held her, caressing her. Then He sat her down among the roses.
Never have I seen such a beautiful table. Hundreds of roses lay the whole length of it, piled, melting into each other, sweeping up from the head and the foot of the table to a great mound in the centre, where the Master sat, faced by Díyá Páshá. Florence Khánum and Carey, Madame Díyá Bey (Díyá Páshá's daughter-in-law), the American wives of Oriental diplomats, were placed on either side of the Master and I sat next to Carey.
There are times when the Master looks colossal, when His Holiness shines like the sun. That night He wore the usual white, with a honey-coloured 'abá. Díyá Páshá, opposite Him, watched Him with eyes full of tears, his keen old hawk's face strangely softened.
The Master gave a great address on the civilizations built on the basic Teachings of the Prophets; then He spoke of this dinner as "a wonderful occasion". "The East and the West," He said, "are met in perfect love tonight." There was something so poignant in His words, so flame-creating, that for a moment I was overcome.
Later He spoke of the deep significance of the international marriages represented there: Díyá Bey's and Carey's, 'Alí-Qulí Khán's and Florence's. Carey made me very happy by saying: "Juliet told me long ago of Your Teachings, when I was only fifteen years old." What fruit that seed had borne, sown in a child!
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá with the Persian Consul-general for New York and his household, Morristown, New Jersey.]
Díyá Páshá made a thrilling speech. Rising and turning a lover's face to the Master, he called Him "the Light of the world, the Unique One of the age, Who had come to spread His glory and perfection amongst us."
"I am not worthy of this," said the Master, very simply. Always a great power is released from the Master's divine humility.
As I bade Díyá Páshá goodnight, looking at me through a mist of tears, he said: "Truly, He is a Saint."
It was such a sympathetic subject! At once Mrs Elkins opened her heart.
"Come away!" smiled the Master. "Elude these journalists! Come to Haifa where there is peace. Juliet will tell you there is peace in Haifa."
Then He spoke of how much I loved her and of her philanthropic deeds, which He prayed might increase. He captured her hand and kept it in His, while she hastily hid the sweet gesture under her cape.
"Nothing endures, Mrs Elkins," He said. "Nothing but the Love of God endures. Look at these trees in full blossom now." And in words which I will not try to repeat He described the turning of the seasons: the trees in summer flourishing green leaves; the inevitable autumn with the leaves lying, yellow, on the ground.
"This," He said, "is a symbol of human life."
"Remember Babylon." He drew a vivid picture of ancient Babylon, its towers, its stupendous art; then of Babylon today: a waste of rubble, "the hyena prowling among its crumbled stones." No other sign of life but the "voice of the owl by night" or "a lark singing at daybreak." "Remember Tyre. Here too was beauty and splendour and pomp. Think of Tyre now. I have been there. I have seen."
He spoke of my mother that day: "Juliet's mother is very good. Her heart is very pure. As soon as we met, her face became radiant."
When we reached home, Mrs Elkins said to me: "You can't hide a thing from Him. He sees everything that is in your heart."
The day Mrs Elkins first met the Master she mentioned her husband, the senator, who died about a year ago. "I wish he were here now," she said, "to meet You."
"Inshá'lláh," replied the Master, "for his good deeds I shall meet him in the Kingdom of God."
One of the senator's good deeds had been to protect the Bahá'ís in 'Akká and Haifa while the Master was being tried for His life in 1907.
One day, however, she was not with me. That night she was giving a small diner and an opera party and she
had to rest for this. So, being free for an hour or so, I decided to stay at Mrs Parsons' and have a little visit with Edna.
While Edna and I were talking, the Master suddenly entered the room. "I am going out for a drive," He said, "but wait till I return, Edna, and you too, Juliet, wait. I will see you in a short time."
So I waited--waited and waited. Half-past six came. Seven. We were to dine at half-past seven and the Elkinses' house was a long way off, rather indirect on the car-line.
"Go, Juliet," urged Edna. "I will explain."
But how could I? My Lord had told me to stay.
And now I shall have to digress and tell what may seem, just at first, another story: When I was ten years old, (and I remember the time because that year we were living with my grandmother) a very presumptuous idea took possession of me. I began to dream of some day painting the Christ. I even prayed that I might. "O God," I would pray, "You know Christ didn't look like a woman, the way all the pictures of Him look. Please let me paint Him when I grow up as the King of Men." And I never lost hope of this till I saw the Master. Then I knew that no one could paint the Christ. Could the sun with the whole universe full of its radiations, or endless flashes of lightning be captured in paint?
Imagine my surprise and dismay, fear, joy and gratitude all mixed together, at the news given me by Mrs Gibbons when the Master first came to New York. The night before He landed she had received a Tablet in which He said: "On My arrival in America Miss Juliet Thompson shall paint a wonderful portrait of Me." This was in response to a supplication from Mrs Gibbons
asking that her daughter might paint Him, which she never did, though the Master graciously gave her permission, even more graciously adding those words about me.
It was a little after seven when the Master came back from His drive. Entering the room in which He had left me and where of course I was still waiting, He said: "Ah, Juliet! For your sake I returned. Mrs Hemmick wanted to keep Me, but I had asked you to wait; therefore I returned." After a pause He added: "Would you like to come up and paint Me tomorrow?"
So I learned the reward of obedience. Such a reward for so small an act of obedience! Once in Haifa He said to me: "Keep My words, obey My commands and you will marvel at the results."
And, by a miracle, I wasn't late for dinner! The dinner, because of another guest, had been postponed a half hour.
The next morning I went very early to Mrs Parsons' house, taking my box of pastels; but though it was only eight o'clock, quite a crowd had already gathered and I felt that the morning was doomed to be a broken one. Not only that, but the light in the rooms upstairs, where I was supposed to paint, is very weak, and the delicate wallpaper, with tiny bunches of flowers all over it, I couldn't use as a background for His head. For a while I was in despair, for I dared not make the suggestion I had in mind. But in the end I did. Begging Him to forgive me if I were doing something wrong, I asked if He would pose in New York instead. To this he consented so freely and sweetly that I had no more qualms about it.
The following day I went to Mrs Parsons' to meet Lee McClung, the Treasurer of the United States. Lee McClung had been one of the idols of my early adolescence. He had seemed quite old to me then, though now he is only thirty-eight. When I saw him again last winter for the first time in about ten years, he had made all sorts of fun of me for my "conversion to Bahaism". "It made me laugh out of one eye and cry out of the other," he said. "What does your mother think about it? Have you converted her?"
But at Mrs Parsons' first meeting, to my great surprise, there he was in the audience! I couldn't wait to speak to him or to present him to the Master as Mrs Elkins was in a hurry that day, but in the evening he dined with us.
"How did you feel when you saw the Master?" I asked him.
A shy look came into his face, and Mr McClung is anything but shy. "Well, I felt as though I were in the presence of one of the great old Prophets: Elijah, Isaiah, Moses. No, it was more than that! Christ ... no, now I have it. He seemed to me my Divine Father."
Then he said he must leave us a little early, as he was going to Mr Bell's--Alexander Graham Bell's--to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá there.
Later I was told that the Master had made an address at Mr Bell's; then others were called on to speak. But when Lee McClung was called on he said: "After 'Abdu'l-Bahá has spoken, I cannot."
At Mr McClung's request, I had made an appointment for him with the Master for a private interview and this was the reason I was here to meet him at Mrs Parsons'. I arrived a little ahead of time and while I was
waiting for Mr McClung, a door in the hall opened and there stood the Master, beckoning to me. He was alone, so we had to fall back on His English and my scant Persian.
"How is your mother?" He asked first. "How old is she?"
But I couldn't tell Him, Mamma having always concealed her age till I think even she doesn't know it now.
"I think so."
"How old are you?"
I confessed my age.
"In My eyes you are fifteen," He replied, so sweetly.
"In our eyes I am an infant?"
Then the translator arrived.
"Tell Juliet," the Master began at once, "that she teaches well. I have met many people who have been affected by you, Juliet. You are not eloquent, you are not fluent, but your heart teaches. You speak with a feeling, an emotion which makes people ask: 'What is this she has?' Then they inquire; they seek and find. It is so too with Lua. You never find Lua speaking with dry eyes! You will be confirmed. A great bounty will descend upon you. You will become eloquent. Your tongue will be loosed. Teach, always teach. The confirmations of the Holy Spirit descend upon those who teach constantly. Never feel fear. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. Never fear You will grow stronger and stronger."
That erect head, that hand held high in command, the Power that eddied from Him as He spoke those words, how can I ever feel fear again when I have to mount the dreaded platform?
It was later that He said to me: "You have many friends. You have no enemies. Everybody is your friend. Do not think I am ignorant of conditions in New York. Both factions are pleased with you, Juliet, and have nothing but good to say of you, although they complain of others. Miss X is pleased with you! Mrs XX is pleased with you!" (laughing as He mentioned the two chief disturbers of the peace). "And you have accomplished this only through your sincerity. Others may do this through diplomatic action, but you have done it with your heart."
11 May 1912
On Saturday, 11 May, just one month from the day of His landing, the Master returned to New York from Washington, Cleveland, and Chicago.
A few of us gathered in His rooms to prepare them for Him and fill them with flowers; then to wait for His arrival: May Maxwell, Lua Getsinger, Carrie Kinney, Kate Ives, Grace Robarts, and I. Mr Mills and Mr Woodcock were waiting too.
The Master has a new home, in the Hudson Apartment House, overlooking the river. His flat is on one of the top stories, so that its windows frame the sky. Now the windows were all open and a fresh breeze blew in.
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá with children and Persian entourage.]
About five o'clock He came. Oh the coming of that Presence! If only I could convey to the future the mighty commotion of it! The hearts almost suffocate with joy, the eyes burn with tears at the stir of that step! It is futile to try to express it. Sometimes when the sun breaks through clouds and spreads a great fiery glow, I get something of that feeling.
After greeting us all the Master took a seat by the window and began to talk to us, with supreme love and gladness, wittily, tenderly, eloquently, carrying us up as if on wings to the apex of sublime feeling, so that we wept; then turning our tears to sudden little ripples of laughter as an unexpected gleam of wit flashed out; then melting our hearts with His yearning affection.
He had been horrified in Washington by the prejudice against the Negroes. "What does it matter," He asked, "if the skin of a man is black, white, yellow, pink, or green? In this respect the animals show more intelligence than man. Black sheep and white sheep, white doves and blue do not quarrel because of difference of colour."
Lua, May, and I, for the first time together in the Glory of His Presence, sat on the floor in a corner, gazing through tears at Him and whenever we could wrench our eyes from the sorrowful beauty of His face, silhouetted against the sky, gazing at one another, still through tears.
Day after day I was with Him there. Lua and I had permission to be always with Him. I would go to His apartment in the early morning and stay through the whole day and again and again He would call me to His Presence.
"My Lord," I said once, "I really shouldn't take Your time. I don't want to take Your time. I am only too
thankful to be here, serving at a distance, somewhere in Your atmosphere."
"I know you are content with whatever I do, therefore I send for you, Juliet," He replied.
13 May 1912
On the thirteenth of May (Percy Grant's birthday) a meeting of the Peace Conference took place at the Hotel Astor. It was an enormous meeting with thousands present. The Master was the Guest of Honour and the first speaker, Dr Grant and Rabbi Wise the other speakers.
The Master sat at the centre on the high stage, Dr Grant on His right, Rabbi Wise on His left. Oh, the symbolism of that: the Jewish rabbi, the Christian clergyman, with the Centre of the Covenant between, on the platform of the World Peace Conference.
The Master was really too ill to have gone to this Conference. He had been in bed all morning, suffering from complete exhaustion, and had a high temperature. I was with Him all morning. While I was sitting beside Him I asked: "Must You go to the Hotel Astor when You are so ill?"
"I work by the confirmations of the Holy Spirit," He answered. "I do not work by hygienic laws. If I did," He laughed, "I would get nothing done."
After that meeting, the wonderful record of which has been kept, the Master shook hands with the whole audience, with every one of those thousands of people!
14 May 1912
On Friday, the fourteenth of May, I had quite a distinguished visitor, Khán Báhádúr Alláh-Bakhsh, the Governor of Lahore. Mr Barakatu'lláh had sent him to see me. I invited him to my meeting that night and he
came and seemed to fall in love with the Teachings. The next morning early he called on the Master at the Hudson Apartment House. Lua, May, and I were there at the time and I told him that May was one of my spiritual mothers and Lua my spiritual grandmother. Whereupon the old gentleman said that in that case I was his mother, May Maxwell his grandmother, and Lua his great-grandmother!
Very soon the Master sent for him and kept him a long time in His room. When the interview was over and Khán Báhádúr Alláh-Bakhsh had left, the Master called me to Him.
"You teach well, Juliet," He said. "You teach with ecstasy. You ignite the souls. A great bounty will descend upon you. I have perfect confidence in you as a teacher. Your heart is pure, absolutely pure."
My heart absolutely pure! I wept.
Then, for the second time, the Master gave me a picture of Himself.
Three days later I had a note from the Governor of Lahore. In it he said: "'Abdu'l-Bahá is the Divine Light of today."
"Juliet's love for you is divine," He said, speaking to Marjorie, "and your love for each other must become so great that no stab will affect it." Then He told us that, in reality, our friendship was an "eternal" one.
Marion deKay went with me to Him.
"Your friend, Juliet? Ancient friend?" and He smiled at the child. "You must become a flame of love." ("Like Juliet," He said. I have to keep all His sweet words to
me.) "You must become as steadfast as a rock, firm! strong! so that when the storms break over you, when the thunder roars and the winds rage, you will not be shaken. You must become a teacher, a speaker."
On the fifteenth of May the Master went away for a few days. As soon as He returned Lua telephoned me. "The Master says: come up now if you wish. If not, you have permission to come to Him at any time and to stay as long as you are able. Only, don't displease your mother. He wants her to be happy, He says. This is His message, Julie."
19 May 1912
On Sunday, 19 May, He spoke at the Church of the Divine Paternity. This was unbearably beautiful. The church is Byzantine, making me think of the worship of the early Christians. The interior is of grey stone.
Oh the look of His that day! Then, more vividly than ever, He shone as the Good Shepherd, returned at last to His flocks. I wept through the whole service. At the end of the pew in front of me sat Lua, her eyes fixed on the master, rapt, adoring, her beauty immeasurably heightened by that recognition, that adoration.
Soon I caught a glimpse of another rapt face--a man's--my old friend, Mr Bailey's. Mr Bailey is the last person I could have hoped to see there. A very old gentleman, he had always seemed to me a hopelessly unconvertible atheist. At least he would never listen to a word from me about the Cause. And now, here he sat, and never have I seen a face more touched. His eyes were wistful, like a child's, shyly reverent and as limpid as though there were tears in them.
He met me that afternoon at the Master's apartment,
making his entrance with these words: "I have been thinking since this morning that the way to the attainment of greatness is through elimination."
"You felt," I ventured, "'Abdu'l-Bahá's simplicity?"
"One would naturally feel,"--huffily--"the simplicity of Niagara."
"And the beauty of His Face?"
"The patriarchal grandeur of His face cannot be denied."
Later, how his eyes hung on that Face while the Master talked with him!
21 May 1912
On 21 May, Mrs Tatum had a reception for the Master. The people who were there were of the fashionable world, with a sprinkling of artists and writers. Mrs Sheridan was pouring tea.
Mrs Tatum's house is beautiful. The impression you get is of space and light. A white staircase winds up through a very wide hall, from which, on each side, rooms open--living rooms, dining room, library. All these were soon crowded.
The first friend I caught sight of was Louis Potter. He
came running up to me, exclaiming: "Oh august Juliet!" and attached himself at once to Lua and me. Suddenly, there was a stir among the people, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá was in our midst. He walked over to a yellow couch which curved along the big half-moon of the bay window and sat down on it.
I think I must tell you how He looked there. His surroundings were all white and yellow. Sunlight streamed in. The shadows on His face were transparent; His profile, against the blue sky through the polished glass of the windowpane, outlined in light.
"Come, Louis," I said to Louis Potter, "let's go to the Master."
Louis had never seen Him before, but he skipped forward like a buoyant faun, his head tipped to one side, his hands outstretched.
"Ah-h-h!" he said. It was a little cry from his soul, as though he were just coming home, and was so glad.
And the Master too said: "Ah-h-h!" His arms wide open, welcoming Louis home.
Percy Grant arrived. As soon as he appeared, big and imposing, in the room, the Master rose almost eagerly, smiling and holding out His hand.
"Ah! Dr Grant!" He said.
They stood for what seemed to me minutes, their hands clasped, Percy, with beautiful deference, bowing his head, a gentle, almost tender look on his face. One of the Persians translated the Master's greeting to him but spoke so low that I could not catch the words. Then Percy sat down on the curving window seat so that he faced the Master.
Soon there was another stir in the room. A small, rather plain middle-aged woman with the most astonishing eyes--very clear, very violet--stood in the
doorway, almost timidly, and the Master at once sent Dr Faríd to her to ask her to come and sit by Him. This was Sarah Graham Mulhall.
He spoke a few words to her and she rose and went out, returning after some time with a tray and a pot of tea and two cups on it. The tray was placed on a stool between the Master and Miss Mulhall and they drank their tea together.
The Master, when He called her to Him in Mrs Tatum's house, asked if she would do something for Him. Would she brew some tea for Him with her own
hands and drink it with Him? And while they drank tea and talked, He Himself brought up her problem.
He told her she must do the work she had in mind; she would rise very high in it and become "a great Counsellor"; God would always protect her and all the Celestial Beings of the Supreme Concourse would rally to her assistance.
She did become a Great Counsellor. After years of wonderful work, Governor Smith, Al Smith, made her Adviser and First Commissioner of Narcotics for New York State. One night she herself led a raid against one of the chief centres of the drug ring--a ring of very rich, prominent men, some of them "pillars" of St. Patrick's, some "pillars" of St. John's Cathedral. Rounding them up in their centre, an apartment on Park Avenue, she, with the help of her squad of police, locked them in; then telephoned to the governor. He took the next train to New York and upheld Miss Mulhall's determination to bring them all to trial. Then he went to Cardinal Hayes and Bishop Manning. Cardinal Hayes said: "These men are the worst type of criminals. I agree with you that they must be punished." Bishop Manning said: "You can't touch my parishioners. They are the builders of St. John's Cathedral." He threatened Miss Mulhall. "If you ruin them, I will destroy your office." Which he did, ultimately, for of course every one of the men was found guilty and sent to Fort Leavenworth. After Lehman was elected Governor, the Narcotics Commission was abolished. But in the meantime Miss Mulhall had done a tremendous work. Her book, Opium, the Demon Flower, has become world famous.)
tell. He is a noted newspaper man who writes visionary books on economics. Percy Grant calls him "my prophet". His face is pale and pinched and suffering and he wears a thick chestnut wig. I went up to him and asked: "Wouldn't you like to meet the Master?" "I think not," he drawled, "I really have nothing to say to Him."
And now the Master began to speak to the whole roomful of people.
He was very happy, He said, to be with us. "Think of the contrast!" For years He had been imprisoned in a fortress, His associates criminals. Now He found Himself in spacious homes, "associating," He said, "with you."
His talk gradually shaped itself to some definite point, which, however, He kept for the very end. I wondered what could be coming. When it came it was like a thunderclap.
"Think of it," He said. "Two kings were dethroned in order that I might be freed. This is naught but pure destiny."
I glanced at Percy Grant and saw that he was deeply stirred. He had been listening, still with that tender deference, his head slightly tipped to one side, but at these last startling words of the Master's, in a flash the placidity of his face broke up, something burned through and his eyes sparked.
"And now," ended the Master, suddenly rising to His feet, strong and incredibly majestic, "you here in America must work with Me for the peace of the world and the oneness of mankind."
And with this He left us, the room seeming strangely empty after He had gone.
The next morning early Howard MacNutt came to see me, looking so radiant that I knew he was bringing good news. Then he told me. He had just had breakfast with
Dr Grant, and the Master was to speak again at the Church of the Ascension--at the People's Forum this time, the night of 2 June. Bishop Burch had severely reprimanded Percy for inviting the Master to speak on 14 April and for seating Him in the Bishop's chair! But an idiotic thing like that would never stop Percy Grant--only make him more defiant.
He had talked very freely with Mr MacNutt about 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His address of the day before with its great climax. "As I listened," he said, "I realized profoundly that this was a historic moment; that before me sat One Who, imprisoned for the sake of humankind, had been freed by the Power of God alone, through the dethroning of two kings."
Return to New York
On 22 May the Master left for Boston, returning the twenty-sixth. After His return He stayed with the Kinneys a day or so (till He moved to His new house), and then came my test! For two days He never even looked at me. My heart bled and burned. I could not endure the withdrawal of His nearness. The third day I went to the new house--309 West Seventy-Eighth Street--and there, in Lua's arms, I sobbed my heart out.
"I cry," I said, "only because I love Him," (which I fear was not exactly true) "because I have just realized how terrifically I love Him. This love burns my heart. It is beyond endurance."
Then He sent for me to come to Him.
the multitude of the affairs. But I have not forgotten My promise to pose for you. Come on Saturday with your materials and I will sit."
I thanked Him; then falling on my knees, begged Him not to banish me from His Presence. I could not endure to be separated from Him. I loved, loved Him.
He rose, stood above me, took my hand and held it a long, long time. I still knelt at His feet, the hem of His garment pressed to my lips.
Lua joined her sweet voice to mine.
"Julie has had so much trouble this year. She wants to stay close to You now so that her heart may be healed."
"I want to stay close because I love You!"
He smiled and said something about another love.
"That is gone. Gone," I cried.
At these words of mine which I thought were true, the strangest thing happened. Always when the Master holds my hand I feel a flow of sparks from His palm to mine. Now this current of Life was suddenly cut off. Could I have lied to my Lord, and so, by unconscious self-deception, disconnected myself from the Fountainhead of pure Truth?
But His answer was merciful, reminding me of past sincerities. "I am pleased with you, Juliet. You are so truthful. You tell me everything. She said:" (He turned, laughing, to Lua) "'This is my heart. What can I do with it?'"
I laughed too, through my tears. But soon I began to cry again.
He went back to the couch and sat down and Lua and I followed Him and knelt together at His feet there.
"Don't cry!" (I wish the whole world could hear the
Master say "don't cry". Tears would soon cease to be.) "Don't cry! Unhappiness and the love of Bahá'u'lláh cannot exist in the same heart, for the love of Bahá'u'lláh is happiness."
"I cry for love of you, my Lord. My tears come from my heart. I can't help it."
"Your eyes and Lua's"--and He laughed again--"are two rivers of tears." "I love Juliet," He added, "for her truthfulness."
"I told Juliet," said Lua, putting her arms around me, as we still knelt together side by side, "of Your words to Mrs Kaufman: that these human loves were like waves of the sea rolling to the shore one behind the other, each wave receding."
"Balih," (yes) said the Master, "this is true. You will not find faithfulness in humanity. All humanity is unfaithful. Only God is faithful. Bahá'u'lláh spent fifty years in prison for the sake of humanity. There was faithfulness!"
"From this moment," cried Lua, "Juliet and I dedicate our lives to Thee and we beg to at last die in Thy Path--to drink the cup of martyrdom. Oh, it would be so good for the Cause if two Americans could do this! Take hold of His coat, Julie, and beseech."
I touched the hem of His garment.
"Say yes," implored Lua. "Oh Julie, beg Him to say yes."
But in Thonon I had told the Master that I would not ask for that cup again but would wait till God found me ready for it.
"I accept the dedication of your lives now. The rest will be decided later."
And it was clear what He meant. How we must amuse Him!
My friend, Lawrence White, who lives in Utica, had come to New York to met the Master, and he, Silvia Gannett, and I went together to the church.
We entered, to see a breathtaking picture: That church suggests an old Jewish synagogue. Behind the chancel is a sweeping arch from which hangs a dark, massive curtain in folds straight as organ pipes. The chancel was empty that night except for the Master, sitting--almost lying--in a semicircular chair, His head thrown back, His luminous eyes uprolled. The sleeves of His bronze-coloured 'abá branched out from His shoulders like great spread wings, hiding His hands, so that I was conscious only of His head and those terribly alive eyes. There was an awful mystery about that dominance of the head. It seemed to obliterate the human form and reveal Him as the Face of God. The curtain behind Him might have concealed the Ark of the Covenant, which He, THE COVENANT, was guarding.
Later, when He rose to speak, the Manifestation of the Glory was entirely different. He diffused a softer radiance.
"Look at Him and see the Christ," whispered Lawrence White.
2 June 1912
On the second of June He spoke for Dr Grant's Forum. And there He was simpler; He manifested less, or perhaps I should say manifested something different: a sort of brotherhood to the masses, still retaining His grandeur. And how He addressed Himself to that meeting and to the heart of Percy Grant!
The subject was: "What can the Orient bring to the Occident?"
That subject in that church!
Lua and I were in a front pew with Valíyu'lláh Khán and Mírzá Mahmúd. Suddenly I was petrified to see Mason Remey coming in, through the door of the vestry-room. When he was last in the Church of the Ascension I was siting beside him, engaged to him, while Percy thundered at me from the pulpit. The text of the sermon that Sunday was the same as the text today: "What can the Orient bring to the Occident." "Nothing but disease and death," said Percy, his eyes on me, "and God wants us to live; He wants us to live."
But the Speaker this time was the Master. He said: "The Orient brings to the Occident the Manifestations of God."
Then He defined the Church as that Collective Centre which, attracting many diverse elements, united them
into one ordered system, adding that the Church was but a reflection of the real Collective Centre, the Shepherd, Who, whenever His sheep became scattered, reappeared to unite them. So the Church, established by God's Manifestation, was the Law of God, and when Christ said to Peter, "On thee will I build My Church," He meant He would build His Law upon Peter. Upon him Christ built the Law of God by which all peoples and creeds were afterward unified.
The Master had said it again to Percy Grant: "Be thou like Peter," for this was His message sent by me last summer.
When, at the end of the marvellous address, Percy stepped out into the chancel, it was another man I saw: a man touched by the Hand of God, shaken to the very roots of his being. As Marjorie said, he looked ill and strangely upset. He could scarcely articulate.
The questions followed; it is the custom of the Forum to ask questions. In the centre of the chancel sat the Master, Dr Grant on His right in a choirstall, Dr Faríd behind Him. How at home the Master looked there! He pushed back His turban and smiled as He answered, often very wittily. Once He raised one finger high. I caught my breath then. He was like Jesus in the synagogue confronting the scribes and Pharisees, except that His audience weren't Pharisees.
5 June 1912
The Master has begun to pose for me. He had said: "Can you paint Me in a half hour?"
"A half hour, my Lord?" I stammered, appalled. I can never finish a head in less than two weeks.
"Well, I will give you three half hours. You mustn't waste My time, Juliet."
He told me to come to Him Saturday morning, 1 June, at seven-thirty.
I went in a panic. He was waiting for me in the entrance hall, a small space in the English basement where the light--not much of it--comes from the south. In fact I found myself faced with every kind of handicap. I always paint standing, but now I was obliged to sit, jammed so close to the window (because of the lack of distance between the Master and me) that I couldn't even lean back. No light. No room. And I had brought a canvas for a life-size head.
The Master was seated in a dark corner, His black 'abá melting into the background; and again I saw Him as the Face of God, and quailed. How could I paint the Face of God?
"I want you," He said, "to paint My Servitude to God."
"Oh my Lord," I cried, "only the Holy Spirit could paint Your Servitude to God. No human hand could do it. Pray for me, or I am lost. I implore You, inspire me."
"I will pray," He answered, "and as you are doing this only for the sake of God, you will be inspired."
And then an amazing thing happened. All fear fell away from me and it was as though Someone Else saw through my eyes, worked through my hand.
All the points, all the planes in that matchless Face were so clear to me that my hand couldn't put them down quickly enough, couldn't keep pace with the clarity of my vision. I painted in ecstasy, free as I had never been before.
At the end of the half hour the foundation of the head was perfect.
On Monday again I went to the Master at seven-thirty. As I got off the bus at Seventy-Eighth Street and Riverside Drive I saw Him at the centre of a little group standing beside that strip of park that drops low to the river--the part we love to call "His garden", a forever hallowed spot to us, for there we sometimes walk with Him in the evenings, there He takes His daily exercise, or escapes from the house to rest and pray.
The people who were with Him this morning were Nancy Sholl and Ruth Berkeley, Mr MacNutt and Mr Mills, and, as I hurried to join them, I saw that the Master was anointing them from a vial of attar of rose.
Oh the heavenly perfume, the pale, early-morning sunshine and the Master, all in white glistening in it (no one else takes the sunlight as He does: He is like a polished mirror to the sun), the ecstatic, intoxicating love with which He rubbed our foreheads with His strong fingers dripping with that essence of a hundred roses!
Soon we saw Miss Buckton crossing the street toward us, bringing with her a tall young man with a remarkable face, very pure and serene, which seemed somehow familiar to me. The Master abruptly left us and met the two in the middle of the Drive. Then I saw Him open His arms wide and clasp the young man to His breast.
We all followed the Master to His house, where the young man was introduced to me, and then I knew why his face had seemed familiar. He was Walter Hempden. I had seen him in the theatre. I was in the audience, he on the stage playing the part of "the Servant" in The Servant in the House: Christ. And he played it so intensely, with such spiritual fervour, that I prayed with all my
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His "garden" on Riverside Drive in New York, 1912.]
heart, there in the audience, that he might some day meet the real "Servant!"118
12 June 1912
Yesterday morning I went up early to the Master's house, that house whose door is open at seven-thirty and kept wide open till midnight.
He had been away and I had not seen Him for three days. I had brought my pastels, thinking He might sit for me, but I found Him looking utterly spent. He was in the English basement, Ruth Berkeley and Valíyu'lláh Khán with Him, lying back against the sofa cushions. But, in spite of His weariness, He looked up with brilliant eyes.
"What do you want of Us, Juliet?" He smiled.
I had hid my pastels. "Only to be near You."
"You must excuse Me from sitting for you today. I am not able today."
"I knew that, my Lord, as soon as I came in."
Then He talked to Ruth and me. He told us we were as babes nursing at the Divine Breast. "But babes," He said, "grow daily through the mother's milk."
I could not help but weep, for His was the Divine Breast.
Soon He went out alone to "the garden", leaving Ruth, Valíyu'lláh Khán, and me together.
"It is wonderful," Ruth said as He went, "to see how the world is quickened today in all directions."
"And to know," I said, "that the Voice that is quickening it is the same tender Voice that spoke to us just now." And I wept again, for something about the Master that morning had utterly melted me.
Later He came back. The English basement was crowded by then and He talked for a long while to the people. But this I could see was pure sacrifice. His vitality seemed gone. At times He could scarcely bring forth the words, yet He gave and gave. When He had finished He hurriedly left the house and went again to "His garden".
On the way to the bus I met Him returning alone. He stopped me, put out His hand and took mine, with indescribable tenderness smiling at me. In the handclasp, the look, even in the tilt of the head was a Love so poignant as to give me pain.
"Come tomorrow and paint, Juliet," He said.
He appeared refreshed--better--but remembering His utter depletion of the morning I couldn't help answering, "If You are well." Then I thought I would speak in Persian to amuse Him, but instead of saying, "If Your health is good," I made a mistake and said, "Agar Shumá khúb ast," (If You are good.) whereupon I was covered with confusion. I must have amused Him!
How stupidly we speak to Him! Imagine saying "if" to Him. That was even worse than my break in Persian.
Striding up and down like a king, He spoke to us. In these meetings, He said, we should be in connection
with the Supreme Concourse. Between the Supreme Concourse and us there should be telegraphic communication, one end of the wire in the breast of each one here and the other in that Concourse on high, so that all we might say or do would be inspired.
Soon He came back to us. Miss Buckton had arrived by that time and a poor little waif of a girl, a Jewess. She was all in black and her small pale face was very careworn.
I had been in the kitchen with Lua. When I heard the voice of the Master I hurried into the hall, and there I saw them sitting at the window, the poor sad little girl at the Master's right, Alice Buckton at His left. Like a God, He dominated the scene. Sunlight streamed through the window, His white robes and turban shining in it, the strong carving of His Face thrown into high relief by masses of shadow.
The little Jewish girl was crying.
"Don't grieve now, don't grieve," He said. He was very, very still and I think He was calming her.
"But my brother has been in prison for three years, and it wasn't just to put him in prison. It wasn't his fault, what he did. He was weak and other people led him. He has to serve four more years. My father and mother are always depressed. My brother-in-law has just died, and he was the on who supported us. Now we haven't even that."
"You must trust in God," said the Master.
"But the more I trust the worse things become!" she sobbed.
"You have never trusted."
"But my mother is all the time reading psalms. She doesn't deserve to have God abandon her. I read the psalms myself, the ninety-first psalm and the twenty-third psalm, every night before I go to bed. I pray too."
"To pray is not to read psalms. To pray is to trust in God and to be submissive in all things to Him. Be submissive; then things will change for you. Put your parents and your brother in God's hands. Love God's Will. Strong ships are not conquered by the sea, they ride the waves! Now be a strong ship, not a battered one."
At noon I took Percy Grant to the Master. The Master had inquired for him and sent him a message by me, and Percy had responded instantly by himself suggesting this visit. But the Master was out when we reached the house and while we were waiting for Him I mentioned a very interesting thing He had said to Gifford Pinchot: that the people were rising wave upon wave, like a great tide, and the capitalists, unless they realized this soon, would be driven out with violence; also, that in the future the labourer would not work on a wage basis but for an interest in the concern.
Just then Lua appeared at the door of the room opposite, went to the stairway and, with her beautiful reverence, leaned across the rail to look down.
"He is coming, Lua?"
"Yes, Julie, He is coming!"
He entered the room with both hands extended and in
a voice like a chime from His heart, said: "Oh-h, Dr Grant! Dr Grant!"
Then I slipped out.
When I returned at the Master's call, He was signing a photograph for Percy and writing a prayer on it. "And now," he said, presenting it, "you must give Me your photograph. I want your face. I have given you Mine. Now you must give Me yours."
"I will pray for you," He added as He bade Percy goodbye. "I will mention you daily in My prayers."
The Master detained me for a moment. As I rejoined Percy in the car, Valíyu'lláh Khán was just going into the house.
"Do you see that handsome, distinguished-looking young man?" I said. "That is Valíyu'lláh Khán, a descendant of two generations of martyrs and the brother of one very young martyr. His grandfather, Sulaymán Khán, was a disciple of the Báb. He was Governor of Fars and a great prince, but that didn't save him. He suffered the most ghastly kind of martyrdom and with such ecstasy that he is one of the best beloved of the Bábí martyrs.
"Just a few years ago Valíyu'lláh's father, Varqá Khán, and his little brother, [Rúhu'lláh] Varqá, went on a pilgrimage to 'Akká and had a wonderful visit with the Master. But on their way home they were both arrested and thrown into prison. Then one day some brutal men came into their cell, one with an axe. Varqá Khán was hacked into pieces alive, and the poor little boy forced to look on at that butchery. When it was over, one of the executioners turned to the child. I think I will tell the rest in Valíyu'lláh Khán's own language, just as he told it to me.
"'The man said to my brother: "If you will deny Bahá'u'lláh, we will take you to the court of the Sháh and honours and riches will be heaped upon you." But my brother answered: "I do not want such things." Then the man said to him: "If you refuse to deny, we will kill you worse than your father." "You may kill me a thousand times worse," my brother said. "Is my life of more value than my father's? To die for Bahá'u'lláh is my supreme desire." 'This so angered the executioners that they fell upon Varqá and choked him to death.' Varqá was only twelve years old.
"A day or two ago," I went on, "Valíyu'lláh Khán asked me, 'How is the Master's portrait progressing?' and he added that, in a portrait, he thought 'one must paint the soul.' 'But who can paint the soul of 'Abdu'l-Bahá I asked. And I wish you could have seen the fire in his eyes as he drew himself up and said: 'We can paint it with our blood!'"
13 June 1912
The next day, 13 June, as usual I went very early to the Master's house--so early that no one was there--I mean, no visitors. Some of the Persians of course were with Him: Valíy'u'lláh Khán, Ahmad and Mírzá 'Alí-Akbar. I found them in the lower hall, the English basement. The Master was sitting in the big chair by the window. He called me to a seat opposite, then began to speak, smiling.
"Juliet is absolutely truthful. For this I love her very much. She conceals nothing from me."
"It would be useless, my Lord," I said, "to try to conceal anything from You. I could hide nothing."
"That is true," said the Master, raising one hand. "Nothing; nothing."
Soon He rose. "Stay here," He told me, and went out with Ahmad.
By the time He returned a crowd had gathered. He gave a few private interviews upstairs, then came down and, sitting by the window, talked to all the people. I think the strongest image in my mind is and will always be the holy figure of the Master sitting in the rays of the sun at that window.
The meeting over, a few of us went upstairs to say a healing prayer for Mrs Hinkle-Smith, but just before Lua began to chant, the Master looked in at the door and called: "Juliet," and I happily deserted Mrs Hinkle-Smith.
"Bring your things in here and paint," He said, pointing to the library.
Oh, these sittings: so wonderful, yet so humanly difficult! We move from room to room, from one kind of light to another. The Master has given me three half hours, each time in a different room, and each time people come in and watch me. But the miraculous thing is that nothing makes any difference. The minute I begin to work the same rapture takes possession of me. Someone Else looks through my eyes and sees clearly; Someone Else works through my hand with a sort of furious precision.
On this thirteenth of June, after Lua had chanted the prayer for Mrs Hinkle-Smith, she and May came into the library, crossed over to where I was sitting and stood behind me.
The Master looked up and smiled at May. "You have a kind heart, Mrs Maxwell." Then He turned to Lua. "You, Lua, have a tender heart. And what kind of heart
have you, Juliet?" He laughed. "What kind of a heart have you?"
"Oh, what kind of heart have I? You know, my Lord. I don't know."
"An emotional heart." He laughed again and rolled His hands one round the other in a sort of tempestuous gesture. "You will have a boiling heart, Juliet. Now," He continued, "if these three hearts were united into one heart--kind, tender and emotional--what a great heart that would be!"
14 June 1912
The next morning, Thursday, though I went unusually early to the Master, He had already left the house. But Lua, Valíyu'lláh Khán, and I had a wonderful morning. Valíyu'lláh told us so many things.
"My father," he said, "spent much time with the Blessed Beauty. The Blessed Beauty Himself taught him.
"One time when my father was in His room, Bahá'u'lláh rose and strode back and forth till the very walls seemed to shake. And He told my father that once in an age the Mighty God sent a Soul to earth endowed with the power of the Great Ether, and that such a Soul had all power and was able to do anything. 'Even this walk of Mine' said Bahá'u'lláh, 'has an effect in the world.'
"Then He said that His Holiness Jesus Christ had also come with the power of the Great Ether, but the haughty priesthood of His day thought of Him as a poor, unlettered youth and believed that if they should crucify Him, His Teachings would soon be forgotten. Therefore they did crucify Him. But because His Holiness Jesus possessed the power of the Great Ether, He could not remain
underground. This ethereal power rose and conquered the whole earth. 'And now,' the Blessed Beauty said, 'look to the Master, for this same Power is His.'
"Bahá'u'lláh," added Valíyu'lláh Khán, "taught my father much about Áqá. Áqá (the Master, you know) is one of the titles of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Greatest Branch is another, and the Greatest Mystery of God another. By all these we call Him in Persian. The Blessed Perfection, Bahá'u'lláh, revealed the Station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to my father. And my father wrote many poems to the Master, though the Master would scold him and say: 'You must not write such things to Me.' But the heart of my father could not keep quiet. This is one poem he wrote:
I know Thee!
Though Thou shroudest Thyself in a thousand veils,
I know Thee!
Though Thou shouldst assume the tatters of a beggar, still would
I know Thee!'
"Ah-h! Mrs Thompson. Marhabá! Marhabá!" (Welcome! Welcome!)
The intonation of that "Marhabá" can never be described. It is a welcome from a heart which is a channel for God's heart.
He was very playful with Mamma. "Are you pleased
with Juliet? Pleased now, Mrs Thompson? The next time you have to complain of her, come and complain to Me and I will beat her!"
15 June 1912
On Friday, 15 June, I was with the Master alone for a while, and I brought up the name of Percy Grant. "He didn't understand You the other day, my Lord. He thinks that You teach asceticism, that the spirit and the flesh are two separate things."
"That is not what I said," the Master replied. "I said that the spiritual man and the materialist were two different beings. The spirit is in the flesh."
5 July 1912
The Beloved Master's portrait is finished. He sat for me six times, but I really did it in the three half hours He had promised me; for the sixth time, when He posed in His own room on the top floor, I didn't put on a single stroke. I was looking at the portrait wondering what I could find to do, when He suddenly rose from his chair and said: "It is finished." The fifth time He sat, Miss Souley-Campbell came in with a drawing she had done from a photograph to ask if He would sign it for her and if she might add a few touches from life. This meant that He had to change His pose, so of course I couldn't paint that day. And the fourth time (the nineteenth of June)--who could have painted then?
I had just begun to work, Lua in the room sitting on a couch nearby, when the Master smiled at me; then turning to Lua said in Persian: "This makes me sleepy. What shall I do?"
[Photograph: Portrait of 'Abdu'l-Bahá painted by Juliet Thompson, 1912.]
"Tell the Master, Lua, that if He would like to take a nap, I can work while He sleeps."
But I found that I could not. What I saw then was too sacred, too formidable. He sat still as a statue, His eyes closed, infinite peace on that chiselled face, a God-like calm and grandeur in His erect head.
Suddenly, with a great flash like lightning He opened His eyes and the room seemed to rock like a ship in a storm with the Power released. The Master was blazing. "The veils of glory", "the thousand veils", had shrivelled away in that Flame and we were exposed to the Glory itself.
Lua and I sat shaking and sobbing.
Then He spoke to Lua. I caught the words, "Munádíy-i 'Ahd." (Herald of the Covenant.
Lua started forward, her hand to her breast.
"Man?" (I?) she exclaimed.
"Call one of the Persians. You must understand this."
Never shall I forget that moment, the flashing eyes of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the reverberations of His Voice, the Power that still rocked the room. God of lightning and thunder! I thought.
"I appoint you, Lua, the Herald of the Covenant. And I AM THE COVENANT, appointed by Bahá'u'lláh. And no one can refute His Word. This is the Testament of Bahá'u'lláh. You will find it in the Holy Book of Aqdas. Go forth and proclaim, 'This is THE COVENANT OF GOD in your midst.'"
A great joy had lifted Lua up. Her eyes were full of light. She looked like a winged angel. "Oh recreate me," she cried, "that I may do this work for Thee!"
By now I was sobbing uncontrollably.
"Julie too," said Lua, not even in such a moment forgetful of me, "wants to be recreated."
But the Master had shrouded Himself with His veils again, the "thousand veils". He sat before us now in His dear humanity: very, very human, very simple.
"Don't cry, Juliet," He said. "This is no time for tears. Through tears you cannot see to paint."
I tried hard to hold back my tears and to work, but painting that day was at an end for me.
The Master smiled lovingly.
"Juliet is one of My favourites because she speaks the truth to me. See how I love the truth, Juliet. You spoke one word of truth to Me and see how I have praised it!"
I looked up to smile in answer, and in gratitude, then was overwhelmed again by that awful convulsive sobbing.
At this the Master began to laugh and, as He laughed and laughed, the strangest thing happened. It was as if at each outburst He wrapped Himself in more veils, so that now He looked completely human, without a trace left of His superhuman majesty. Never had I seen Him like this before and I never did afterward.
"I am going to tell you something funny," He said, adding in English, "a joke".
"Oh tell it!" we begged; and now I was in a sort of hysteria, laughing and crying at the same time.
"No. Not now. Paint."
But of course I couldn't paint.
Later, walking up and down, He laughed again.
"I am thinking of My joke," He explained.
"Tell it!" we pleaded.
"No, I cannot, for every time I try to tell it I laugh so I cannot speak."
We got down on our knees, able at last to enter into His play, and begged Him, "Please, please tell us." We were laughing on our knees.
"No. Not now. After lunch."
But, alas, after lunch He went upstairs to His room, and we never heard the Master's joke.
Perhaps, there wasn't any joke. Perhaps He had just found it necessary, after that mighty Declaration, to bring us down to earth again. He had revealed to us "The Apex of Immortality." He had lifted us to a height from which we could see it. Now He, our loving Shepherd, had carried us in His own arms back to our little valley and put us where we belonged.
"Juliet is one of My favourites," He said.
little later followed her and spoke Himself on the station of the Centre of the Covenant, but not as He had done to Lua and me. The blazing Reality of it He had revealed in His own Person to us. To them He spoke guardedly, even deleting afterwards from our notes some of the things He had said.
Still later that afternoon the Master had promised to sit for a photograph. I had made the appointment myself with Mrs Kasebier, a very wonderful photographer, to bring the Master to her studio, but some people prevented His getting off in time. When they left, He sent for me.
"I am ashamed," He said (while I nearly died at that word "ashamed" from Him), "but I will go tomorrow. I had planned to leave for Montclair tomorrow but I will stay until Friday for your sake."
"I can't bear, my Lord," I said, "to have You delay Your trip to the country for this."
"No, I wish it," He answered.
"I have a confession to make, my Lord," I said. "I have been to Dr Grant's house. It happened in this way: he asked if I would be the bearer of his photograph to You and would I stop at the Rectory for it on my way up to You. Then he invited me to come to breakfast. That invitation I declined, but I could think of no excuse for refusing to stop for the picture. So I did go. But I stayed only five or ten minutes and his mother was with us all the time."
"Good, good," said the Master. "Going to his house was not good, but since you have confessed it, Juliet, I am very much pleased. When I look into your heart," He added, smiling, "I find it just like that mirror--it is so pure."
(Oh, please understand me, when I repeat such things it is only because they are His words to me. I keep them just to remind myself of something potential He sees in me which I must grow up to. I am not reminding myself of His praise, for it really isn't praise but stimulation. If He had been blaming me, I would repeat His blame too.
He then spoke of my teaching. "Your breath is effective," He said. "You are now in the Kingdom of Abhá with Me, as I wished you to be."
20 June 1912
The next day, 20 June, we went to Mrs Kasebier's--Lua, Mrs Hinkle-Smith, and I--in the car with the Master.
I shall never forget the Master's beauty in the strange cold light of her studio, a green, underwater sort of light, in which He looked shining and chiselled, like the statue of a god. But the pictures are dark shadows of Him.
21 June 1912
On 21 June, the Master left for Montclair to stay nine days. I was with Him all day till He went. I had lunched with Him nearly every day that week. Lua, Mrs Hinkle-Smith, Valíyu'lláh Khán, and I bade Him goodbye on the steps of His house.
23 June 1912
It had nearly killed Lua not to be taken to Montclair with Him. Two days later she said to me: "Let's go to see Him, Julie."
"How can we, Lua? He didn't invite us," I answered. "He bade us goodbye for nine days."
"Oh but you have an excuse, those proofs of Mrs Kasebier's pictures. You really should show them to Him, Julie."
And she whirled Georgie Ralston and me off to Montclair with her.
We were punished of course, and our first punishment was that lunch was unusually late (so that instead of arriving after, as we had planned, we arrived just in time for it). And this was agonizing, for there weren't enough seats at the table, and the Master wouldn't sit down to eat. One of us had to occupy His chair, while He Himself waited on us, carrying all the courses around and around that table. I couldn't get over my mortification.
At the end He came in with the fruit, a glass bowl full of golden peaches. Without turning His head--His face was set straight before Him--He sent a piercing glance from the corner of His eye toward Lua and me. Such a majestic, stern glance, like a sword-thrust.
After lunch, and this was our second punishment, He banished the three of us--Georgie, Lua, and me--leading us to a small back porch and abandoning us there. But before very long He returned and asked us to take a walk with Him.
We came back from our walk by way of the front porch. Some people were gathered there and Lua, Georgie, and I sat down with them while the Master went upstairs to rest. He joined us, however, very soon and, striding up and down, began to talk to us. As He walked His Power shook us; His intoxicating exhilaration, pouring into me, filled me up with new life.
His eyes--those eyes of light, which seem to be always looking into heaven and when for an instant they glance toward earth, veer away at once, back to heaven--were brilliantly restless. His whole Being was restless with the same strange Force I had felt on that memorable day, the nineteenth of June. It was as though
the lightning of His Spirit could scarcely endure to be harnessed to the body. He was almost out of the body. But soon He took a seat and rested quietly.
I showed Him the proofs of the pictures, then spoke of Mrs Kasebier--who had seen Him only once, when she photographed Him. "She said she would like to live near You, my Lord."
He laughed. "She doesn't want to live near Me. She only wants a good time!" Then He grew serious. "To live near Me," He said, "one must have My aims and objects. Do you remember the rich young man who wanted to live near Christ, and when he learned what it cost to live near Him--that it meant to give away all his possessions and take up a cross and follow Christ--then," the Master laughed, "he fled away!"
"Among the disciples of the Báb," He continued, "were two: His amanuensis and a firm believer. On the eve of the Báb's martyrdom the firm believer prayed: 'Oh let me die with You!' The amanuensis said: 'What shall I do?'
"'What shall I do?'" mocked the Master. "'What do you want me to do?' The disciple died with the Báb, his head on the breast of the Báb, and their bodies were mingled in death. The other died in prison anyway, but think of the difference in their stations!
"There was another martyr," continued the Master after a moment, "Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh of Shíráz." Then He told us that Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh had been in the Presence of Bahá'u'lláh only once, "but he so loved the Blessed Beauty" that he could not resist following Him to
Tihrán, though Bahá'u'lláh had commanded him to remain in Shíráz with his old parents. "Still," said the Master, His tone exultant, "he followed!"
Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh reached Tihrán in the midst of that bloodiest of massacres resulting from the attempt on the Sháh's life by two fanatical Bábís. Bahá'u'lláh had been cast into a dungeon. There, in that foul cellar He sat, weighted down by "The Devil's Chain", eleven disciples sitting with Him, bound by the same chain. In it were set iron collars which were fastened around the neck by iron pins. Every day a disciple was slaughtered and none knew when his turn would come. The first intimation he had of his immediate death was when the jailer took out the iron pin from his collar.
Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh entered Tihrán and inquired of the guard at the gate "where Bahá'u'lláh resided." "We will take you to Him," said the guard. And some men took 'Abdu'lláh to the dungeon and chained him to Bahá'u'lláh.
"So," the Master said, "he found his Beloved again!"
One day the jailer came into the dungeon and took out the pin from Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh's collar.
"Then," said the Master, "Mírzá 'Abdu'lláh stepped joyfully forward. First, he kissed the feet of the Blessed Beauty, and then ..."
The Master's whole aspect suddenly changed. It was as though the spirit of the martyr had entered into Him. With that God-like head erect, snapping His fingers high in the air, beating out a drum-like rhythm with His foot till we could hardly endure the vibrations set up, He triumphantly sang "The Martyr's Song".
"I have come again, I have come again,
By way of Shíráz I have come again!
With the wine cup in My hand!
Such is the madness of Love!"
"And thus," ended 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "singing and dancing he went to his death, and a hundred executioners fell on him! And later his parents came to Bahá'u'lláh, praising God that their son had given his life in the Path of God."
This was what the Cause meant then. This was what it meant to "live near Him"! Another realm opened to me, the realm of Divine Tragedy.
The Master sank back into His chair. Tears swelled in my eyes, blurring everything. When they cleared I saw a still stranger look on His face. His eyes were unmistakably fixed on the Invisible. They were filled with delight and as brilliant as jewels. A smile of exultation played on His lips. So low that it sounded like an echo He hummed the Martyr's Song.
"See," He exclaimed, "the effect that the death of a martyr has in the world. It has changed My condition." After a moment's silence, He asked: "What is it, Juliet, you are pondering so deeply?"
"I was thinking, my Lord, of the look on Your face when You said Your condition had been changed. And that I had seen a flash of the joy of God when someone dies happily for His Cause."
"There was one name," the Master answered, "that always brought joy to the face of Bahá'u'lláh. His expression would change at the mention of it. That name was Mary of Magdala."
29 June 1912
Almost a week passed before we saw our Lord again. Then, on the twenty-ninth of June, we met Him at West Englewood. He was giving a feast for all the believers in the grounds around Roy Wilhelm's house, the "Feast of Unity" He called it.
I went with dear Silvia Gannett. We walked from the little station, past the grove where the tables were set--a grove of tall pine trees--and on to the house in which He was, He Whose Presence filled our eyes with light and without Whom our days had been very dim and lifeless.
Ah, there He was again! Sitting in a corner of the porch! I sped across the lawn, forgetting Silvia, forgetting everything. He looked down at me with grave eyes, and I saw a fathomless welcome in them.
For a while we sat with Him on the porch. Then He led us down into the grove. There He seated Himself on the ground at the foot of a pine tree and called two believers to His right and left. One was Mrs Krug in her very elegant clothes, the other a poor and shabby old woman. But both faces, the wrinkled one and the smooth, pretty one, were beautiful with the same radiance. I shall never forget that old woman's shining blue eyes.
The great words He spoke to us then have been preserved. I will not repeat them. Besides I remember them too imperfectly. But He said one thing which woke my whole being: "This is a New Day; a New Hour."
By the time He had finished, the feast was ready, but just as it was announced a storm blew up--a strange, sudden storm, without warning. There was a tremen-
dous crash of thunder; through the treetops we could see black clouds boiling up, and big drops of rain splashed on the tables.
The Master rose calmly and, followed by the Persians, walked out to the road, then to the end of it where there is a crossroad. A single chair had been left there and, as I watched from a distance, I saw the Master take it and sit down, while the Persians ranged themselves behind Him. I saw Him lift His face to the sky. He had gone a long way from the house; thunder still crashed and the clouds rolled frighteningly low, but He continued to sit perfectly motionless, that sacred, powerful face upturned to the sky. Then came a strong, rushing wind; the clouds began to race away; blue patches appeared above and the sun shone out. And then the Master rose and walked back into the grove. This I witnessed.
Later, as we sat at the tables, two hundred and fifty of us, He anointed us all with attar of rose. I was not at a table but sitting under a tree with Marjorie Morten and Silvia. The Master swept toward us in His long white robes, forever the Divine Shepherd.
"Friends here?" He smiled, "Friends?"
In His voice was a thrilling joy. With a look that shook my heart, so full was it with the musk of His Love, He rubbed my face hard with the attar of rose.
He passed among all the tables with His little vial of perfume (which Grace Robarts swears was almost as full at the end as in the beginning) anointing the forehead of every one there, touching and caressing all our blind faces with His tingling fingers.
Then He disappeared for hours.
must leave very soon for California. So now she deliberately walked in poison ivy, walked back and forth and back and forth till her feet were thoroughly poisoned. "Now, Julie," she said (when the deed was done) "He can't send me to California."
Then the Master spoke again to us. I was standing behind Him, close to Him, and before He began He turned and gave me a long, profound look. His talk of that night has been recorded. It was a resounding Call to us to arise from the tomb of self in this Day of the Great Resurrection and unite around Him to vivify the world.
Before He had finished He rose from His chair and started down the path still talking, passing between the dim figures on the grass with their lighted tapers, talking till He reached the road, where He turned and we could no longer see Him. Even then His words floated back to us--the liquid Persian, 'Alí Qulí Khán's beautiful, quivering translation, like the sound of a violin string.
"Peace be with you," this was the last we heard, "I will pray for you."
Oh that Voice that came back out of His invisibility when He had passed beyond our sight. May I always remember, and hear the Voice.
30 June 1912
That night our Beloved Lord returned to New York. The next morning early I flew up to see Him, but He sent me at once to Lua, who was staying with Georgie Ralston in a hotel nearby.
She was in bed, her feet terribly swollen from the poison ivy.
"Look at me, Julie," she said. "Look at my feet. Oh, please go right back to the Master and tell Him about them and say: 'How can Lua travel now?'"
I did it, returned to the Master's house, found Him in His room and put Lua's question to Him. He laughed, then crossed the room to a table on which stood a bowl of fruit, and, selecting an apple and a pomegranate, gave them to me.
"Take these to Lua," He said. "Tell her to eat them and she will be cured. Spend the day with her, Juliet."
Oh precious Lua--strange mixture of disobedience and obedience--and all from love! I shall never forget her, seizing first the apple, then the pomegranate and gravely chewing them all the way through till not even a pomegranate seed was left: thoroughly eating her cure, which was certain to send her to California.
In the late afternoon we were happily surprised by a visit from the Master Himself. He drew back the sheet and looked at Lua's feet, which by that time were beautifully slim. Then He burst out laughing.
"See," He said, "I have cured Lua with an apple and a pomegranate."
But Lua revolted again. There was one more thing she could try, and she tried it. The Master had asked me to
paint her portrait and I had already had one sitting. The following day, at the Master's house, she drew me aside.
"Please, Julie, do something else for me. Go to the Master, now, and say: 'If Lua is in California, how can I paint her?'"
I went straight to His room with Valíyu'lláh Khán to translate. "My Lord," I said, "You have commanded me to paint Lua. If she is in California and I here, how can I do it? The portrait is begun; how can I finish it?"
Again the Master burst out laughing, for this of course was too transparent.
"In a year," He said, "Lua will join Me in Egypt. She will stay in New York a few days on her way to Me and you can paint her then, Juliet."
So poor Lua had to go to California. There was no way out for her.
4 July 1912
On the fourth of July, yesterday, Mamma had her birthday dinner with the Master. He was so sweet to her. When we first arrived we found Him in the English basement and He led Mamma to the sofa and, with that wonderful freedom of His, drew her down beside Him.
Carrie Kinney, Georgie Ralston, and I were sitting across the room by the window and I'm afraid we did look solemn, for we sat in a row, perfectly silent.
"Look at them!" said Mamma, laughing. "They are jealous of me!"
"Then we will make them more jealous!" arid the
Master seized Mamma's hand and drew her still closer, at which she looked really scared!
Now I felt compelled to speak. "Three years ago, my Lord, on the fourth of July, Carrie, and I were with You in 'Akká and You took us to the Holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. I never expected to keep that anniversary with You in New York."
At the table the Master joked with Mamma because she was eating so little. "I perceive that you are an angel, Mrs Thompson. Angels do not eat."
"The Master sees I am not an angel," I laughed, "for I eat every morsel He puts on my plate."
"I perceive that you are a very clever girl. Mrs Thompson," He continued, "is going home to a luscious supper and saving her appetite for that."
Passing me a dish with three very shrivelled dates on it, He said: "Here, Juliet, are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
And I ate them up!
A little later Mamma said, looking at the Master with her sweet shyness: "You are very kind to me."
"God knows the degrees of it," He sighed deeply.
I have almost no time to write these days, as I spend most of them with the Beloved Master and when I try to write after dinner, my darling little mother stops me too soon. Her room is at right angles with mine and at ten o'clock she calls through her window: "Put out your light, baby." But there are three or four lovely things that I must tell.
On Monday, 9 July, the Master invited me, with the Persians to go to the Natural History Museum. It was a broiling afternoon and I couldn't imagine why He should want to go to that Museum, and in the hottest part of the day. But wherever He went, there I wanted to be.
When we reached the Ninth Avenue corner of the Museum the Master, exhausted by that time, sank to a low stone ledge to rest. Between us and the main door on the Central Park corner stretched a long cross-town block in glaring sun, not a single tree on the sidewalk.
"My Lord," I said, "let me try to find a nearer entrance for You." And I hurried along the grass, keeping close to the building, searching the basement for a door. The employees' entrance was locked. Just beyond stood a sign: "No Thoroughfare." I was rushing past this when a shrill whistle stopped me, and I turned to face the watchman of the grounds. He was a little bent old Jew with a very kind face.
"Oh excuse me," I said, "for breaking the rules, but I must find a nearer door than the main one. See Who is sitting on that ledge! I must find it for Him."
The watchman turned and looked at the Master, look-
ed and looked, at that Figure from the East, from the Past--the Days of the Old Testament--and his eyes became very soft. "Is He a Jew?" he asked.
"A descendant of Abraham."
"Come with me," said the watchman. "Ask Him to come with me."
I went over and spoke to the Master and He rose and followed with the Persians, I dropping back to walk with them. There was not a nearer entrance, but the watchman, taking a risk perhaps, led us across the grass, where at least it was cooler and the way shorter.
In the Museum we passed through a room in which a huge whale hung from the ceiling. The Master looked up at it, laughed and said: "He could hold seventy Jonahs!"
Then He took us straight to the Mexican exhibit, and this seemed to interest Him very much. In the great elaborately carved glyphs standing around the room He found traces of Persian art and pointed them out to me. He told us this sculpture resembled very closely the ancient sculpture of Egypt. "Only," He said, "this is better." Then He took me over to the cases where He showed me purely Persian bracelets.
"I have heard a tradition," I said, "that in the very distant past this country and Asia were connected."
"Assuredly," answered the Master, "before a great catastrophe there was such a connection between Asia and America."
After looking at everything in the Mexican rooms, He led us to the front door and out into the grounds again. Then, stepping from the stone walk to the grass, He seated Himself beneath a young birch tree, His back to us, while we stood behind Him on the flags. He sat there
a long time, silent. Was He waiting for someone? I wondered.
While He--waited?--the old Jewish watchman stole quietly up to me from the direction of the Museum.
"Is He tired?" he whispered. "Who is He? He looks like such a great man."
"He is 'Abdu'l-Bahá of Persia," I said, "and He has been a great Sufferer because of His work for the real Brotherhood of Man, the uniting of all the races and nations."
"I should like to speak to Him," said the Jew. And I took him over to the tree under which the Master still sat with His back to us.
At the sound of our footsteps He turned and looked up at the watchman, His brilliant eyes full of sweetness. "Come and sit by Me," He said.
"Thank You, Sir, but I am not allowed."
"Is it against the rules for Me to sit on the grass?"
The old man's eyes, softly shining, were fixed on the Master. "No, You may sit there all day!"
But the Master rose and stood beneath the tree.
Such pictures as I see when the Master is in them could never be put upon canvas--not even into words, except by the sublimest poet--but I always want to try at least to leave a trace of their beauty. The Master, luminous in the sunlight, His white robe flowing to the grass, standing beside the white slender trunk of the birch tree, with its leafy canopy over His head. The Jew standing opposite Him--so bent, so old--his eyes, like a lover's, humbly raised to the face of his own Messiah! As yet unrecognized, his Messiah, yet his heart worshiped.
Eagerly he went on, offering all he could think of to this Mysterious One Who had touched him so deeply.
"You didn't see the whole of the Museum. Would You like to go back after You have rested? You didn't go up to the third floor." (Unseen by us he must have been following all the time.) "The fossils and the birds are up there. Wouldn't You like to see the birds?"
The Master answered very gently, smiling.
"I am tired of travelling and looking at the things of this world. I want to go above and travel and see in the spiritual worlds. What do you think about that?" He asked suddenly, beaming on the old watchman.
The watchman looked puzzled and scratched his head.
"Which would you rather posses," continued the Master, "the material or the spiritual world?"
Still the old man pondered. At last he brought forth: "Well, I guess the material. You know you have that, anyway."
"But you do not lose it when you have attained the spiritual world. When you go upstairs in a house, you don't leave the house. The lower floor is under you."
"Oh I see!" cried the watchman, his whole face lighting up, "I see!"
After we parted from the watchman, who walked with us all the way to the Ninth Avenue corner, leading us again across the grass, I began to blame myself for not inviting him to the Master's house, forgetting that the Master Himself had not done so. Every day I meant to return to the Museum to tell the old man where the Master lived, but I put off from day to day.
When, at the end of a week, I did run over to the Museum, I found a young watchman there, who seemed to know nothing of the one he had replaced.
Had our friend "gone upstairs?"
Why had the Master visited a Museum of Natural
History in the hottest hour of a blistering July day? Had He instead visited a soul whose need was crying out to Him, to open an old man's eyes so that he might see to climb the stairs, to take away the dread of death?
"Come, Juliet, sit by Me," He called as I entered the room. "Now, speak."
How could I, before those people? I hesitated.
"All your hopes and desires are destined to be fulfilled," He said, "in the Kingdom of God."
This was my cue.
"I came to tell You, my Lord, that now I have only one desire, to offer my heart for Your service."
"This you will also do, but all your desires will be fulfilled."
He kept me to lunch that day. While we were waiting in the English basement for the lunch to be announced, Valíyu'lláh Khán and I alone with the Master, He spoke again of my "truthfulness".
"Oh," I prayed, "may I some day have all the virtues so that in every way I can make you happy."
"But he who possesses truthfulness possesses all the virtues," said the Master. Then He went on to tell us a story. "There was once a disciple of Muhammad who
asked of another disciple, 'What shall I do to please God?' And the other disciple replied: 'Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not covet,' etc., etc., etc. A great many 'do nots'." the Master laughed. "He asked still another, 'What shall I do to become nearer to God?' And this one said: 'You must supplicate and pray. You must be generous. You must be courageous,' etc., etc., etc. Then the disciple went to 'Alí. 'What do you say I should do in order to please God and to become nearer to Him?' 'One thing only: be truthful.'
"For," continued the Master, "if you are truthful, you cannot commit murder. You would have to confess it! Neither can you steal. You would have to confess it. So, if one is truthful, he possesses all the virtues.
"I may tell you this," He said to me, and He told me a thing so wonderful that, even to keep and cherish His words and read them over in the time to come, I cannot repeat it here.
"My Lord," I said, "if ever I have told You an untruth it was because I deceived myself."
"There are degrees of truth," He answered, "but that word of yours which has so pleased Me was absolute, perfect, extraordinary truth."
He led us down a path sloping to the river, flanked by tall poplars. Sweeping on ahead in His gleaming white robes, He was like a spirit. The night was very dark, the river and the Jersey Palisades starred and glittering with lights and there were chains of lights close to the water.
With a wave of the hand towards them He said: "If only the souls of men could be thus illumined."
"It is You, my Lord," I said, as I followed close with Valíyu'lláh Khán and Ahmad, "Who put a torch to our souls and light them."
Suddenly out from behind the bushes rushed a crowd of children, bursting upon us like little demons, capering around us and hooting. Some of them even picked up stones and threw them. Then they all began to sing: "Follow the Lord! The Lord leads on!"
Back to us floated the voice of the Master: "The people of the world are blind. You must have vision. The people of the world are heedless: see how heedless they are!" and He swept His hand toward the children, who immediately melted back into the shadows as if they had never really existed. "You must be aware. The people of the world are steeped in darkness. You must be immersed in a sea of light."
We went deep down in the park, close to the river; then turned, climbed a path, and came out upon the street. Here there was a stone wall, dividing the park from the sidewalk. The Master leaned wearily on the wall and gazed far below to the river. He seemed to be lost in meditation, His face profoundly sorrowful. I thought of a picture, a poster, which, in the early days of His visit, had been displayed on all the church doors: the Christ mourning over the city.
Soon He continued His walk. I turned to Valíyu'lláh Khán.
"Oh," I said, "if only I could realize throughout the whole fibre of my being, feel with every nerve, every atom in me, His Divine Reality, if only while in His bodily Presence I could be fully aware of Who He is ..."
He turned and spoke and His face was ineffably gentle and holy and something in His voice pierced me to the heart. He couldn't have heard me with the outer ear--I had fallen too far behind and was whispering, and in English--but how He answered me!
"They laugh at Me, yet My dress is the dress of Jesus, just the same that He wore."
The people of the world: children! Had the Master Himself evoked those little demons and made a sort of moving picture of them, to show us what is to come as we "follow the Lord" in the dark night?
I had been with the Master all morning. (Later I will write of the morning.) In the afternoon around three o'clock I returned with Rhoda Nichols only to meet Him just going out with the Persians. He smiled, then walked swiftly toward the river, but Ahmad, dropping behind, called to Rhoda and me: "Come along with us to the Harrises'." We should have known better than to go, for the Master had not invited us, but we couldn't resist the temptation. So we followed up Riverside Drive, then West End Avenue, till we came to Ninety-Fifth Street, where Mr and Mrs Harris live. A tenement house neighbourhood.
As we approached Ninety-Fifth Street, there we saw them: the different children. There must have been nearly a hundred of them, playing in the street with their hoops and balls. But, when the Master drew near, all shining white in His long flowing robes, they immediately stopped playing. It all happened instantaneously. The next moment they had fallen into formation and were marching down the street behind Him (we had
turned east toward Central Park), some of them still rolling their hoops. Without one word they followed, their little faces almost solemn. They made me think of a real and beautiful Children's Crusade.
We came to the house where the Harrises live and walked up five steep flights, but when Mrs Harris opened her apartment door and Rhoda and I saw a table inside set only for the Master and the Persians, we backed away terribly embarrassed and lost no time in getting downstairs. After all, we couldn't have foreseen a luncheon at three o'clock!
When we opened the street door, there were the children again, surrounding the house, silently looking up at it. A little yellow-haired girl came running up the stoop to me. She seemed to be the spokesman for the others. Breathlessly she asked: "Please, ma'am, tell us. Is He Christ?"
I sat down on the stoop while the whole crowd of children swarmed and pushed around me. "I will tell you all about Him," I said. Then I whispered to Rhoda: "Go upstairs again, dear, and let the Master know what is happening."
She returned with a wonderful message from the Master, an invitation to all the children to come to a feast to be given specially for them at the Kinneys' house next Sunday.
When the others left He kept me.
"I come to Your Presence, my Lord," I said, "to be cured of my spiritual ills."
"Your pure heart," the Master answered, "is a magnet for the Divine feelings."
He spoke of my mother and sent her some fruit. "Your mother," He said, "is very dear to me. You cannot imagine how I love your mother."
Then He laughed and asked: "How is Dr Grant?"
"I don't know, my Lord. I haven't seen him. I'm afraid I hurt him the last time we met."
"What did you do?"
"I refused to go into his house with him."
"How is he with Us?"
"I don't know."
"I want to see him. Is this possible?"
"Yes, I am sure. I will telephone to him."
"Tell him I am longing to see him, longing to see him," repeated the Master smiling.
I knelt and kissed His robe, looking up so happy, so grateful, while He looked down and laughed at me.
That night I telephoned to Percy. "I am the bearer of a message to you," I said, "from the Master. He asked this morning if I had seen you lately and said He wanted to see you. 'Tell Dr Grant I am longing to see him,' He said."
"That was very beautiful of Him. Give Him my cordial greetings. Tell him how happy I am that He thought of me. I can't tell you at this moment, Juliet, when I can go. I hope tomorrow afternoon. I have a wedding at half-past four. After that, perhaps."
"Well, I will give you the Master's telephone number and you can call His house about it, unless you prefer to have me arrange it."
"I should rather do it through you."
Saying he would let me know in the morning, he bade me goodbye; then, "I give you my loving salutations."
The next morning, however, when he called me up, he was in another state of mind. "Tell the Master," he said, "I have so many human engagements just now. I am going up to Greenwich after the wedding. (Greenwich is Alice Flagler's home.) "But I want to run in to see you this morning, if I may."
I went to my room and prayed. I was on my knees when he came. Not that he found me on them!
"To come straight to the point, Percy," I said, "I hope you will go to see the Master."
"I'm going to see the Master, only I can't today."
"Oh that is all right," I said, brightening. "I didn't understand."
We talked about other things and then Katherine Berwind dropped in. Percy spent the morning with us, leaving us for a little while to return with bottles of ginger ale and grape juice which he mixed into a drink for us. When he finally left about noon I followed him out of the studio.
"What message have you," I asked, "for the Master?"
He swore! It was a very mild swear, but he coupled the Master's name with it, so I can't repeat it.
"I believe you love Him," he said fiercely, "more than anything on earth."
"More than your art," he added quickly.
"But of course."
"Well, you shouldn't. With your talent, Juliet, you could do immortal work. Do you never think of that?"
"I am thinking of His immortal work in us."
"He has done it, in you!"
"Juliet, I have wanted to co-operate with Him. You know that. But I don't believe He can do this thing alone."
"I believe He is perfectly able to do it alone."
"He changes the hearts and nobody else can do that. Well, what message shall I take to Him?"
"Tell Him with my greeting that I will come up some time to see Him, but I am out of town a great deal, most of the time, and--"
"Can't you do any better than that?" I asked.
"I want to do something for His comfort and when Mr Flagler's yacht comes back I want to take Him up the Hudson. I will be in town Friday, Juliet."
"Then come up on Friday to see Him with me. Please come. You know I don't often persist, but this time--forgive me if I do."
"I think it is beautiful of you to persist in this instance, Juliet." With the face of a martyr he kissed my hand. "I will come Friday."
And, looking unspeakably miserable, he left me.
While I was putting on my gloves Percy produced a large and ornate pocketbook. "Juliet," he said, "here is an empty pocketbook which someone brought me from Italy. Will you accept it? I thought you might have in mind some Oriental person to whom you would like to give it."
When we started out he proposed going up in a cab, but I objected on the grounds that it would be slow and we were already half an hour late.
"I am bringing the Master down here at six and you would have no visit at all if we took a slow cab."
"Well, for the matter of that, Juliet"--and his upper lip grew very stiff--"any visit I might pay would be merely an expression of affection and courtesy. As for all you could get from a visit of this sort, where conversation must be through an interpreter and 'Abdu'l-Bahá will go off into a monologue on some subject that interests Him--well, as I said, it is merely a mark of courtesy."
"Marhabá, Dr Grant! It is a long time since I have seen you, a long time."
But His welcome was more reserved than it had been before.
"Well, Dr Grant," He said, after a moment, "what is the very latest news, the very latest?"
Remembering Percy's remark, that the Master always indulged in monologue, I couldn't help smiling at this.
"The latest news," said Percy with a wicked look, as
obstinate, pugnacious and self-confident as I have ever seen, "is in the field of athletics."
"The Olympic games?" asked the Master.
"Yes," said Percy, surprised.
"You know," the Master went on, "that these games originated in ancient Greece and it was a necessity of that time to develop the body to its fullest strength, the nations being constantly at warfare and the men wearing armour and fighting hand to hand. Heavy swords had to be driven through coats of mail; bodies had to be strengthened to endure the mail."
"But explain to the Master," said Percy, very much de haut en bas, "that because of the people all centring in the cities and thus depleting their constitutions, the necessity for physical development is just as great now as it was then, though the basis is different."
The Master answered with the utmost sweetness: "We do not deprecate physical development, for the sound mind should work through a sound body, but We think that the people of the West are too much concerned with mere physical development. They forget the need of spiritual development."
But Percy was bent upon argument. The development of the spirit, he maintained, could not even begin till the body had first been built up; and he looked so absurdly condescending, so pompous, so sure of his power to defeat the Master, that I could scarcely control my mirth. The Master did not control His.
"Man thinks too much of perfecting the body," He smiled delightfully, "but of what use is it to him without the perfecting of the spirit? No matter how much he develops his muscles and sinews he will never
become as strong as the ox, as brave as the lion or as big as the elephant! Physically he is an animal, yet inferior to the animals, for animals acquire their sustenance with the greatest ease, whereas man has to toil incessantly, to labour with infinite pain, for a mere livelihood. So, in the physical realm, the beast is nobler than man. But man is distinguished from the beast by his spiritual gifts and these he should develop with the other, both together. There should be the perfect balance, the spiritual and the physical. A man whose ideal side only is developed is also imperfect. We do not deprecate comfort. If I could find a better house than this I would certainly move into it. But man should not think of comfort alone."
I looked at Percy. He was still like a fighting-cock, ready for another bout. He would never give in before me, I knew, so I slipped quietly into the kitchen. When I returned the whole atmosphere had changed. His face had softened, his stiff mouth relaxed. As I entered the room the Master was saying: "When one prays, one sometimes has divine glimpses. So, when one is spiritually developed, a sublimity of nature is obtained, a delicacy of vision such as could not otherwise be found. Not only this, but tranquillity and happiness are secured.
"Do you think if it had not been for spiritual assurance I could have been happy all those years in prison? Think of it, forty years! You have just been telling me, Dr Grant, that forty years is the average American life. I spent My American life in prison. Yet all that time I was on the heights of happiness. Many believers in Persia have been forced to give up
everything: their possessions, their families, and, in the end, their lives, but they never lost their happiness.
"Remember Christ, when they placed the crown of thorns on His head. At that very moment, as the thorns wounded His brow, He looked down the vista of the centuries and beheld innumerable kings bowing their jewelled crowns low before that crown of thorns. Do you think He did not know, that He could not foresee?" (Again I stole a glance at Percy. He looked utterly melted now and his eyes shone.) "When they spat in the face of Christ," the Master went on, "when they made a mock procession and carried Him around the streets, He felt no humiliation."
Just then I rose to go, first asking permission, with my eyes, of the Master, Percy was not inclined to go, even when we were on our feet. In spite of that momentary softening--perhaps partly because of it--he still wanted to stay and argue and I could hardly tear him away.
While we were standing, he swung the master's divine subject to a combative one, "the Occident versus the Orient": that was the substance of it. And if ever I saw the Occident embodied, it was at that moment in that man.
The Master leaned close to him and with the utmost gentleness and patience tried to appeal to him. The people of the East, He said, were content with less than the people here, so their hours of work were shorter. He touched too on the absence of suicide in the Orient.
When He spoke of suicide, and also while He described the humiliations heaped on Christ, which could not humiliate Him, I had a strange sense of impending tragedy for Percy Grant, of something dreadful to happen
in the future in which he would utterly "lose his happiness" and would feel humiliation, when perhaps these words of the Master would come back to him.
On the way down in the cab the Master talked about economics. "The most important of the questions here," He said, "is the economic question. Until that is first solved nothing can be done. But if it should not be solved there will be riots."
Percy spoke of democracy.
"But your poor man," the Master replied, "cannot even think of economics; he is so overburdened."
I asked Percy to tell about his work and when he had done so, with some hesitation (for he seldom speaks of himself), the Master said sweetly: "May you make peace here. May you unite the classes."
Whereupon Percy's face beamed.
But he steeled himself again and at my door he turned to go, though I did invite him in, and the Master also said: "Are you not coming in?"
"No, no," and he hurried away, with a huffy look.
I can still see the Master on my steps, so in command.
"Au revoir, Dr Grant," He said.
Percy had mentioned the yacht trip to the Master and asked if He could make it the following Monday, but the
Master had several appointments Monday and could not accept for that day.
"I will try," said Percy, "to get the yacht for Tuesday."
The Master had planned to spend the whole evening with us and we were all to go for a walk, but the Persians had forgotten to announce at the Seventy-Eighth Street house that He would be absent Friday evening, so He felt He must return early.
While He was resting Kahlil Gibran came. He had a private talk with the Master in my room; then joined us upstairs in the studio, to which we had all gone by that time, and in a very few minutes the Master too joined us.
Mamma, with her own loving hands, had prepared the studio for His reception and it was very beautiful, full of laurel, white roses, and lighted white candles.
"What a good room," said the Master as He entered it. "It is like an Oriental room--so high. If I were to build a house here," He laughed, "I would build an eclectic house--partly Oriental, partly Occidental."
Then we passed the refreshments and our Beloved Lord "broke bread" with us.
16 July 1912
Tuesday, 16 July, the day proposed for the yacht trip up the Hudson, was a day of crushing disappointment. In the morning I awoke thinking: Today great things may happen for Percy; miracles may happen! Still, an instinct made me uneasy.
As soon as I reached the Master's house I asked if Dr Grant had been heard from. No word had come, Dr Faríd told me, and really the Master ought to know in order to arrange His day's appointments. "You had better telephone, Juliet."
I went to the corner drugstore and called the Rectory,
only to learn that Percy was still in Greenwich. I called him in Greenwich.
"Oh, Juliet." He sounded bored. "I have been meaning to telephone you all morning, but one thing after another has prevented. No, I am sorry, tell 'Abdu'l-Bahá how very sorry I am, but I cannot arrange the trip for today. Mrs Flagler was in town yesterday and it didn't agree with her and she isn't well enough to go today."
"I am very sorry," I murmured, so shocked I could scarcely speak.
"When does the Master leave New York?"
"On the twenty-second."
"On the twenty-second? I hope it can be arranged before them."
"I hope so."
"How did the supper go off the other night?"
"The supper you had for the Master?"
"There was no supper."
"Why, I heard you talking about 'provisions' over the telephone with Mrs Morten."
"That was only fruit and a cool drink. The Master just paid us a visit. I asked you to come in."
"Well, I didn't feel that I could. I thought you were going to sit around a table and that all those Persians you had asked would fill it up, and that woman you invited at the Master's house. It makes me shudder, Juliet, to think of all the money you spent that day."
"That was nothing."
"Oh, money is nothing, I suppose!"
"Certainly nothing compared with a visit from the Master." And I said goodbye.
I went back to the house so ashamed I could hardly
hold up my head: miserably ashamed of Percy Grant, burning up with indignation at his deliberate insult to the Master, to Him Whose "dress was the same as the dress of Jesus", an insult levelled at the Master, the real intention of which was to hurt me. Just a petty revenge on me.
I gave Percy's wretched message to Dr Faríd without any comment; then stole off alone and wept.
Soon my Lord sent for me. I longed to unburden my heart to Him, but Grace Krug and Louise were with Him and Grace was telling her own troubles, speaking of some unhappiness of the day before, so of course I could say nothing. I sat forcing back my tears, feeling that at any moment I might burst out crying and that I mustn't do that in His Presence for any other reason than love.
"And now," said the Master, still talking with Grace, "the sun is out again! The sun is shining. I am glad of that. I do not like clouds!"
Oh, what if I cry now, I thought.
"Winds from all directions: from the north, south, east, and west--great hurricanes--have beaten against My Ark, yet My Ark still floats." Smiling, He made an adorable gesture with His hands, swinging them like a rocking boat. "One single wave has submerged many a great ship, yet My Ark still floats!"
"Juliet," He said, turning suddenly to me, "is there anything you want to ask Me privately? Bíyá! (Come)."
He led me by the hand into the back room.
"Now speak. Your eyes are all speech!"
"I only want to say that I am deeply ashamed for Dr Grant. Deeply sorry. The friend to whose husband the yacht belongs is sick and he could not get it for today."
"It is better so," said the Master. "I was wondering
how I could do it, for I am not very well today and must be in Brooklyn this evening at eight o'clock. But I would have done it for his sake. It is better; better," He ended, with a strange sweet intonation, as He returned to the other room.
18 July 1912
Each day I drink deeper of the cup of Love. Yesterday the draught I took was pure ecstasy. I saw Him for three brief moments only, but those three moments were charged.
First, I saw Him with a few others--Mrs Helen Goodall, Miss Wise, Ella Goodall Cooper--and He spoke to us of the kindness of God, holding in His hand my rosary, which He has carried for several days (the one Khánum gave me in Haifa). When we meet kindness in a human being He said, how happy it makes us. How much happier we will be when we realize the kindness of God.
Later He called to Him alone. I met Him as He came downstairs from His room to the library. He was all in white.
"Ah-h, Juliet," He said. He began to walk up and down the library. "Your mother sent me these things," (referring to some flowers and another little present). "These things came from your mother? I became very happy from them, but she should not have taken the trouble."
"It made her so happy to send that little offering."
"But she should not have taken the trouble." He continued to walk up and down. In a moment He said: "I am very much please with your truthfulness, Juliet.
That matter between us, your truthfulness on that occasion makes Me happy whenever I think of it."
"Everything in my heart is for You to see, my Lord. I only hope the day may come when You will see nothing in it except the Love of God."
He came very close and looked deep into my eyes with His brilliant eyes.
"I see your heart," He said. "I look into your face and your heart is perfectly clear to Me."
Again He paced up and down and it was then I knelt.
"Tell the Master," I said to Valíyu'lláh Khán, "I pray that my heart may become entirely detached from this world."
"Your heart," said the Master, pausing before me and gazing at me with a face of glistening light, "will become entirely detached. You are now in the condition I desired for you." He walked to the window and stood, looking out. "I wish you to teach constantly. Therein lies your happiness, and My happiness."
He came back to me. I had risen.
"I wish you to be detached from the entire world of existence; to turn to the Kingdom of Abhá with a pure heart; with a pure breath to teach the people. I desire for you," He continued, resuming His walk, "that which I desire for My own daughters, Túbá and Rúhá."
With this He dismissed me.
Grace and Harlan stood together, transfigured; they
seemed to be bathed in white light. Mr Ives, standing opposite, married them. Back in the shadow sat the Master. There were times when I, sitting at a little distance from Him, felt His lightning glance on me. At the end of the service He blessed the marriage. After this He went upstairs, to the front room on the third floor.
I soon followed him there, taking with me our coloured maid, Mamie, and her little adopted son, George, a child six years old. Mamie wanted to have the Master bless him.
On the way up in the bus I had (idiotically) asked: "Do you know who the Master is, George?"
"No, ma'am," very positively.
"Well, you will know some day, for by the time you grow up the whole world will know Who the Master is and then you will be so proud and happy to remember that He blessed you."
The blessing the Master gave George was not an obvious one, there was nothing ceremonial about it. He just took the child on His knee and talked playfully with him and caressed him. But how it impressed that little boy!
While we were going downtown in the bus, he rolled his big eyes up at me and out of a dead silence said: "I know now, ma'am."
And when Mamie's husband, Cornelius, opened the door for us, George rushed to him, crying out: "The Master blessed me, dearie, and I will show you just how."
Then he clattered down the basement stairs and I was spared the scene! I never did know how George demonstrated it--he couldn't have taken Cornelius on
his knee!--but the next day Mamie told me of something else.
"Dearie," George had asked, "is the Master that blessed me this evening the same Master that holds the moon in His hand and makes the sun shine?"
"Go to bed, child," said Cornelius.
"But," repeated George, "is the Master that same Lord that makes the sun shine and the rain come down?"
"The Lord that makes the sun shine," said Mamie, "is in the Master that blessed you this evening, George. It was the Holy Spirit that blessed you."
A few years ago, during the Second World War, I heard of George again from his real mother. He was in England, practising medicine and working with the wounded in the hospitals.)
This morning I went as usual to the Master's house but was stopped at the door by Alice Beede.
"Fly," she said, "after Mrs Goodall and Ella. They have your rosary. The Master just gave it to them."
My precious, precious coral rosary--given to me by the Greatest Holy Leaf! Given on a wonderful occasion, when a young carpenter living on Mount Carmel had been healed of typhoid fever. Rúhá and I had climbed the mountain to see him and we were trying to help his mother when Khánum and the Holy Mother arrived with a doctor. The doctor went into the hut and the rest of us stayed outside, Khánum sitting on the ground under a tree, praying on this same rosary. It was dark by then, and very dark in that little garden. Khánum was all in shadowy white, from her veil to her feet. When she had finished praying, she glided like a spirit toward me and threw the coral chain over my head. A few days ago I took this great treasure to the Master. "This is the dearest thing I possess," I said, "except Your tablets and the ring You gave me. If You will use it, my Lord, it will be infinitely dearer."
I ran up the street after Mrs Goodall and Ella Cooper and when I overtook them said breathlessly: "Alice Beede has just told me that the Master gave you my rosary."
"Oh! Take it back," said Mrs Goodall.
But I had come to my senses.
"No, no," I answered. "If the Master gave it to you it is yours."
In the afternoon I went again to my Lord. He was sitting in the English basement, in His lap a tangled pile of rosaries. I sat between Ahmad and Edward Getsinger. The Master held up a rosary.
"To whom do I return this?" He inquired of Ahmad.
Edward leaned over to me and whispered: "That is the way your rosary went."
"Oh no, it isn't," I whispered back.
"What did Juliet say?" asked the Master.
"It was nothing, my Lord, nothing," I said.
He smiled and the subject was dropped.
25 July 1912
She Master is gone. Gone to Dublin, New Hampshire.
I shall never forget the day He left, day before yesterday. I went up early to His house--but oh, too late! On the street I met Mrs Hutchinson.
"The Master has gone!" she said, her eyes full of tears, her lips quivering.
"Twenty minutes ago."
"I will go to the station."
I jumped on a subway train and reached the station in a few minutes. But nowhere did I see the Master and the Persians. I stopped a porter.
"Did a party of foreigners pass through here just now?"
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Dublin, New Hampshire]
"Yes!" There wasn't a minute to explain.
"Yes. Go to track 19."
But track 19 was deserted except for the gateman.
"Has a party of foreigners passed this way?" I asked him.
"They are on the train."
"I supposed I couldn't go through?"
"Yes, go through, but come right back."
Smiling my thanks, I dashed down the platform. At one of the windows in the train I saw a white turban.
"Could I get on the car?" I asked the conductor.
"Yes, get on. It's all right."
"Goodbye, my Lord."
"Goodbye." He drew me down beside Him. "You should not have troubled to come here," He said.
"My heart wouldn't let me do otherwise."
"I will see you in a month. Give My greetings to your mother, to all the friends; to Mrs Krug, Miss Boylan."
Closely, closely He pressed my hand, pouring the attar of rose of His Love upon me. Then once more He said goodbye and I left.
It had been too bold, yet even against the rules every door had opened to me.
the twenty-second, I went very early to His house, with eight palm-leaf fans in my hands. Mamma had sent them for the Master and the Persians to use on the hot journey.
The master was sitting in the English basement at the window. He called me to a chair opposite Him. "What are all those for?" He asked, laughing, waving His hand toward the fans.
I laughed too, for they did look funny. I explained their purpose and that they were from Mamma.
For a while I sat in silence before Him. Then suddenly I realized that He was about to leave us, that in just a few minutes He would be gone. I began to cry quietly.
"Tell Juliet," laughed the Master, "that I am not going today."
At this the sun came out! But soon by tears were flowing again, this time because His love was melting me.
"Why are you crying, Juliet? I am not going today!"
"Oh Valíyu'lláh Khán," I said, "say to the Master for me that I know He is the Sun and I pray He will always encircle me with His rays."
"You are very near Me," He answered, "and while you speak the truth you will always be with Me. I pray that you may become the candle of New York, spreading the Light of Love all around you."
After this we sat silent in His Presence, silent for a long time.
Once again He saw me when Marjorie came. He told
her she was my child, my "little chicken" and said we must comfort each other after He has gone.
If only I had written of Green Acre day by day while we were there with Him! There are unforgettable things, but so many details, precious details, have slipped away.
Mamma and I were in Bass Rocks when the Master's invitation reached us. Bass Rocks, on a cliff above the ocean, was Mamma's paradise and we could never afford more than two weeks of it. So, when Ahmad's postcard came, with word from the Master that He wished us to spend three days with Him in Green Acre, all she could think of at first was that three days would be lost from her paradise!
"I won't go," she said.
"Oh, Mamma, an invitation from a king is a command, and this is from the King of kings."
"Well, I'll go for just one night and no more. And I won't take a suitcase. Just a little Irish bundle, so that we can't stay more than one night."
So she packed our little Irish bundle: two night-gowns, two toothbrushes, our combs and brushes and a change of underwear.
When we arrived at the Green Acre Inn the Master met us at the door with His loving Marhabá; then He drew me into the dining room.
"She does not want?" He asked in English.
I couldn't tell the truth then, but of course He knew.
to the believers. He was all in white in the dark. Mamma whispering to me: "It is like following a Spirit."
A tussle day after day to keep Mamma in Green Acre, in which dear Carrie Kinney helped me.
A night when a horrifying young man came to a meeting at the Kinneys' house. From head to foot he was covered with soot. His blue eyes stared out from a dark grey face. This was Fred Mortenson. He had spent half his boyhood and young manhood in a prison in Minneapolis. Our beloved Albert Hall, who was interested in prison work, had found him and taken him out on parole and given him the Bahá'í Message. But Albert Hall was dead when the Master came to America.
Fred Mortenson, hearing that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was in Green Acre, and having no money to make the trip, had ridden the bumpers [on freight trains] to His Presence.
He came into the meeting and sat down and was very unhappy when the Master, pacing back and forth as He talked, took no notice of him. "It must be that He knows I stole a ride," thought Fred (who told me all about it afterward). But no sooner was the meeting over and the Master upstairs in His room than He sent for Fred.
Fred had said nothing to anyone about his trip on the bumpers, but the minute he entered that upstairs room the Master asked smiling and with twinkling eyes: "How did you enjoy your ride?" then He took from Fred's hand his soot-covered cap and kissed it.
Years later, during the First World War, when the American believers sent ten thousand dollars for the relief of the starving Arabs, the messenger they chose to carry the money through the warring countries was: Fred Mortenson. The Master declined the ten thousand
dollars, relieving the Arabs Himself by His own hard labour. He went to His estate near Tiberius and Himself ploughed the fields there; then stored all the grain in the Shrine of the Báb.
For this He was knighted by Great Britain when British rule replaced Turkish in Palestine. It was meant as an honour, but to me it was like an insult. It nearly killed me after that to direct my supplications to Sir 'Abdu'l-Bahá 'Abbás.
One day the Master, speaking from the porch of somebody's cottage, while the believers sat on the grass below, made this fascinating statement: "We are in affinity now because in pre-existence we were in affinity."
"Let's ask Him what He means by that," whispered Carrie to me.
So, in the evening, while the Master was in our room--Mamma's and mine--and Carrie sitting there with us, I put the question to Him.
"I will answer you later," He said.
But He never did, outwardly.
In a minute or so Mamma, with that funny boldness of hers which would sometimes burst through her timidity, said: "Master, I would like to see You without Your turban."
He smiled. "It is not our custom, Mrs Thompson, to take off our turbans before ladies, but for your sake I will do it."
And oh, the beauty we saw then! There was something in the silver hair flowing back from His high forehead, something in the shape of the head, which, in spite of His age, made me think of Christ.
There was another night, when Carrie, Mamma, and I and a few other believers were sitting in the second-floor hall. Suddenly, on the white wall of the floor above, at the head of the staircase, the Master's great shadow loomed. Mamma slipped over to the foot of the stairs and looking up with adoring eyes, called: "Master!"
And still another night. This was our third in Green Acre. Again we were sitting in the second-floor hall, but now the Master was in our midst.
"We must say goodbye tomorrow," Mamma said to Him.
"Oh no, Mrs Thompson," He laughed. "You are not going tomorrow. One more day." and He laughed again. "You see, I am leaving for Boston day after tomorrow and you are of My own family. Therefore you must travel with Me."
And Mamma submitted now with a satisfaction wonderful to see. She was proud as a peacock. "He said I was of His own family," she kept repeating to me.
Once He called Mamma and me into His room and among other things He said was this: "There are correspondences, Mrs Thompson, between heaven and earth and Juliet's correspondence in heaven is Mary of Magdala."
I have just one story to tell of Lua, with the Master, in California. I want to tell it for two reasons. First: because of its value and also its humour; then because another version of it is still being told by the believers, less direct and much less like the Master. This is how I had it from Lua herself.
She and Georgie Ralston (who had gone with Lua to California) were driving one day with the Master, when He closed His eyes and apparently feel asleep. Lua and Georgie talked on, I imagine about their own concerns, for suddenly His eyes sprang open and He laughed.
"I, me, my, mine: words of the Devil!" He said.)
The Master is here again!
I met Him at the boat last Monday, 11 November. I met Him alone. And this is how that happened. At noon on 11 November, Mírzá 'Alí-Akbar arrived from Washington to find living quarters for the Masters and the Persians. I had had a wire from him earlier, asking me to meet him at the station and to house-hunt with him, which I did. The Master was to come at ten that night and we thought we had plenty of time to notify the friends so that they could meet His ferryboat, but later another wire came to our house, relayed to me through Mamma and Mr Mills at Mrs Champney's (and luckily catching me there), saying that the Master would arrive at eight. Through a series of accidents, Mr Mills' chauffeur landed us first somewhere in New Jersey and then at the Liberty Street station, and there was no time to telephone anybody.
"This will be very bad," said Mírzá 'Alí-Akbar, but we couldn't help it.
We had accomplished everything else, had rented again the dear house on Seventy-Eighth Street (Mrs Champney's) and found extra rooms for some of the Persians.
Now, Mírzá 'Alí-Akbar insisted on my taking Mr Mills' car and going at breakneck speed to the Twenty-Third Street station to try to meet the Master there, if He should come that way, while he himself waited at Liberty Street.
I reached Twenty-Third Street just in time. The ferryboat was approaching and very close to the dock. Standing at the end of the pier, I saw it with its chain of lights. I saw Dr Faríd. Then the Master rose from a seat on the deck and entered the brightly lit cabin.
Soon He came toward me down the gangplank.
"Ah, Juliet," He said, taking my hand in His and drawing me along with Him, so that I walked beside Him. But He didn't invite me to drive to His house with Him. Instead, He sent me back after Mírzá 'Alí-Akbar--Dr Baghdádí and Mírzá Mahmúd going with me. We returned all together to Seventy-Eighth Street.
Oh, to see Him in that house again, sitting in His old corner in the English basement, the corner in the bay window!
Whereupon I flew into a temper, told her what I thought of her "false pride", and stamped out of the house.
Now, entering the Master's house with the three Persians, instead of a welcome, I received a blow. The Master didn't even look at me.
"How is your mother?" were His first words. "Is she happy?"
Then He told me to go straight back to her but to return the next day. I went back and comforted her with His rebuke to me.
"Don't cry! Don't cry!" said the Master, with His infinite tenderness.
The twelfth of November, the Birthday of Bahá'u'lláh, was the day of Mrs Krug's meeting and never, never shall I forget it.
There, at Mrs Krug's, the Master invoked Bahá'u'lláh. And as His cry, "Yá Bahá'u'lláh!" rang out, I hid my eyes, for it was as though He were calling Someone the same plane with Him, Someone Whom He saw, and Who would certainly come.
He came--the Blessed Beauty, the Lord of Hosts. A Power flashed into our midst, a great Sacred Power ... I can find no words. Burning tears poured down my cheeks. My heart shook.
After the meeting, the Master, Who was resting in another room, sent for me. I had supplicated through
Valíyu'lláh Khán that He would come to the meeting at our house Friday.
"Tomorrow, Juliet," He said, "I will tell you about your meeting. Now go back to the house and wait till I come."
I did so and He soon came--came and sat in the corner of the window in the English basement just as He used to last summer. Carrie Kinney was there and Mr Hoar.
He had spoken so often in public and in private of an inevitable world war, warning America not to enter it, that I felt moved to mention it now.
"Will the present war in the Balkans," I asked, "terminate in the world war?"
"No, but within two years a spark will rise from the Balkans and set the whole world on fire."
Soon He rose and calling, "Come, Juliet," and beckoning to Valíyu'lláh Khán, took us out to walk in "His garden", that narrow strip of park above the river. As we followed Him, Valíyu'lláh Khán said: "How blessed to be walking in His footsteps!"
He led us to a bench and sat down between us, clasping my hand tightly. And then He began to ask me questions: question after question about the believers in New York, as to a certain condition among them, a lack of firmness in the Covenant, which I had never suspected--of which I was really ignorant. Of course, I did know that earlier there had been awful confusion--some teaching that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was like Peter, others that He was Jesus Himself--but I thought that time was past.
"But I don't know, my Lord!" I said. "If I knew, I would tell you."
"I know you don't know," He laughed, "and I do
know. There are many things I know that you do not know. I was only testing you. I have loved you for your truthfulness, for the truth you spoke in a matter you remember. I wanted to see if your heart were in the same state of truthfulness." Then He said: "With those who are against the Centre of the Covenant you must not associate at all. When you find that a soul has turned away from the Covenant you must cut yourself off completely from him. You will know these people. You will see it in their faces." (How on earth, I thought, could I trust my judgement of the faces? He answered my unspoken thought at once.) "You will see a dimness on the faces, like the letting down of a veil."
"My Lord," I said, "I feel that I have failed in everything. I have failed You in all my pitiful efforts to bring about unity. And I know my failure has been due to lack of strict obedience."
"Obedience," said the Master, "is firmness in the Covenant. You must associate with the steadfast ones." He mentioned three people who, since His return--since I met His ferryboat alone--have wreaked their displeasure on me, one of whom had even "scandalized my name" (!) for several years; then added to the list--Mason Remey. This was bitter! "You must be a rock, as they are rocks."
"My Lord," I asked, with a sinking heart, "am I not firm in the Covenant?"
"You could be more firm," He laughed.
"Oh, my Lord!"
He rose and we began to walk.
"I had hoped," I said miserably, "that nobody loved You better than I."
"I know you love Me, Juliet," He answered, "but
there are degrees of love." Then He told me He carried a measuring-rod in His hand by which He measured the love of the people and that rod was obedience.
At the corner, at the entrance to the park, He paused. "You must love Me," He said, "for the sake of God."
"You are all I shall ever know of God!"
"I am the Servant of God. You must love Me for His sake and for the sake of Bahá'u'lláh. I am very kind to you Juliet," He added.
"I know, my Lord."
"Now go back to your mother, so that she may be pleased with you!" He laughed, and left me to wait for the bus.
But when He had crossed the street, when I saw Him stop for a moment to speak to Valíyu'lláh Khán, I sank on the chain of the fence utterly broken-hearted.
Oh I am nothing, nothing, I thought. I have done nothing but fail Him. Which was just what He wanted me to see, I suppose.
But, could it be that I was not firm? I examined my character: Yes, it was unstable.
"My Lord," I said, as He paced up and down His room, "I want to thank You for Your great mercy last night. I was asleep and You woke me."
"I pray you may ever be awake. There are a few souls in America," He continued, "whom I have chosen to be teachers in this Cause. You are of those, Juliet. I wish you to have all the qualities of a teacher. That is all."
Then He asked me to wait till His return. I waited all
day. At five o'clock He came and called me to His room on the upper floor. With that exquisite courtesy of His, the sweetness of which almost breaks the heart, He--I can hardly write it--asked me to excuse Him for keeping me waiting.
"To wait for You, my Lord, is joy. Oh these blessed days when we can wait for You!"
He went on to tell me why He had been detained ...
28 November 1912
It is Thanksgiving Day, and I am thankful--thankful and happy. Everything that means my personal happiness, even every hope is lost. My Lord has entirely stripped my life. But I pray that He has freed my spirit.
On 15 November, the Master came to our house (48 West Tenth Street) and gave a most wonderful talk in the front room on the first floor to a great crowd of people who filled both the front and back rooms and the hall. I brought George up from the basement and stood him on a chair, so that he could see the Master. He thought the Master was God and was frightened.
Driving down to us with Mrs Champney, our Lord had said: "The time has come for Me to throw bombs!" And He threw them in His talk that night.
"I have spoken," He said, "in the various Christian churches and in the synagogues, and in no assembly has
there been a dissenting voice. All have listened and all have conceded that the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are superlative in character, acknowledging that they constitute the very essence or spirit of this age and that there is no better pathway to the attainment of its ideals. Not a single voice has been raised in objection. At most there have been some who have refused to acknowledge the Mission of Bahá'u'lláh, although even these have admitted that He was a great teacher, a most powerful soul, a very great man. Some who could find no other pretext have said: 'These Teachings are not new; they are old and familiar; we have heard them before.' Therefore, I will speak to you upon the distinctive characteristics of the Manifestation of Bahá'u'lláh and prove that from every standpoint His Cause is distinguished from all others."
And in this address, which was one of His most powerful, the Master certainly proved it. The address was taken down and will be printed.
Mr MacNutt had been one of the few who, when I first came to New York, had taught that the Master was "like Peter"--just a glorified disciple. But for years he had never mentioned this point of view, and I thought he had gotten over it.
In Chicago there are some so-called Bahá'ís who are still connected with Khayru'lláh, the great Covenant-breaker, and last week the Master sent Mr MacNutt to Chicago to see them and try to persuade them to give up Khayru'lláh; otherwise he was to cut them off from the
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá with His Persian entourage in the garden of Howard MacNutt, New York, 1912.]
faithful believers. He--Mr MacNutt--wrote Díyá Baghdádí that he had found these people "angels", and did nothing about the situation.
He had just returned to New York and was to meet the Master at the Kinneys' house that evening, 18 November, for the first time since his unfruitful trip. I was in the second-floor hall with the Master and Carrie Kinney when he arrived. The Master took him to His own room. After some time they came out together into the hall.
An immense crowd had gathered by then on the first floor, which is open the whole length of the house.
I heard the Master say to Mr MacNutt: "Go down and tell the people: 'I was like Saul. Now I am Paul, for I see."
"But I don't see," said poor Howard.
"Go down and say: 'I was like Saul.'"
I pulled his coattail. "For God's sake," I said, "go down."
"Let me alone," he replied in his misery.
"GO DOWN," commanded the Master.
Mr MacNutt turned and went down, and his back looked shrunken. The Master leaned over the stair rail, His head thrown far back, His eyes closed, in anguished prayer. I sat with Carrie on the top step, watching Him. This is like Christ in Gethsemane, I thought.
We could hear the voice of Howard MacNutt stumbling through his confession: "I was like Saul." But he seemed to be saying it by rote, dragging through it still unconvinced. Nevertheless when he came upstairs again, the Master deluged him with love.
By that time the Master was back in His room and as Mr MacNutt appeared at the door, He ran forward to meet him. Our Lord was all in white that night and as
He ran with His arms wide open He looked like a great flying bird. He enfolded Howard in a close embrace, kissed his face and neck, welcomed with ecstasy this broken man who, even though bewildered, had obeyed Him.
The next night while Mamma, Miss Annie Boylan and I were together in the Master's Presence, Miss Annie Boylan brought up Mr MacNutt's name and spoke gloatingly of his chastisement.
The Master sighed. "I immersed Mr MacNutt in the fountain of Job last night," He said.
For over a year Mason and I had avoided each other in perfectly absurd ways. When I had to go down to Washington, I had written him: "Please stay away from the meetings while I am there." (!) Then one day, in Washington, when I boarded a moving, rocking street
car, I fell backward on somebody's lap and turned to find myself sitting on Mason's knees! I haven't seen him since and now, as I approached the Master's house, knowing he would surely be inside--if not at that moment, very soon--I wanted to turn and run.
Suddenly I saw that all this was nonsense and should be overcome at once, before the Master's departure. An idea occurred to me. I stood on the doorstep a minute or two bracing myself to carry it out, to walk boldly up to Mason and say: "Let's go to the Master now and tell Him we are friends again and want to work together in the old way as a real brother and sister in the Cause." All at once, though still a little shy, I felt eager to do this, to put things right.
I opened the door, and there stood Marie Hopper, evidently waiting to waylay me. She looked very mysterious, important and excited. "Juliet," she said, "I must have a word with you. There is something I have to do."
Then she exhorted me to marry Mason. She told me she knew the Master wished it; she had "private information". The Master had said I would "suffer" until I did marry him
"If I have to suffer," I said, "I prefer a respectable martyrdom! I'd be nothing but a common prostitute if I married him. And I can't believe, Marie, that the Master really said this."
May Maxwell came up at that moment, very earnest and starry-eyed, to reinforce Marie.
"Very well," I said, "I will talk with the Master myself about it. He is just upstairs, thank God, no further away than the top floor of this house, and whatever He wants me to do, I will do."
I went up with Valíyu'lláh Khán. But first I stopped on
the third floor and had a little private cry with Valíyu'lláh. Percy Grant was to come the next day to the Master--this would be his last visit--and who could tell what would happen then; what miracle might not happen; what change might not take place in him? And now, Mason Remey looming up again!
We found the Master on the point of going out, standing in His room, holding a big, white, folded umbrella. I knelt and He pressed my head against His arm and took my hand in a tight clasp. "Speak," He said.
"Tell the Master, Valíyu'lláh Khán, that I know He will laugh at this, because I want to speak about marrying Mason. I have heard from Marie Hopper that the Master wishes it. If He really does wish it, I am ready."
"Na! Na!" (No! No!) said the Master. His eyes were twinkling and the corners of His mouth quivering as though He were trying not to smile. "It was this way," He said. "I never interfere. Mrs Hopper came and told me that she wanted to unite you and Mr Remey. I said 'Very well, try.' But it is just as I wrote you long ago. Unless there is perfect agreement--perfect harmony--love, these things are not good."
I kissed His tender hand.
Needless to say, after this, I couldn't go near Mason Remey.
He had brought Mrs Champney with Him and Mr MacNutt and, during the morning, Mr MacNutt, who
was standing behind the Master very humbly, lifted the hem of His 'abá to his lips.
Mamma brought the Master some soup which she had prepared especially for Him.
"I was just wishing for soup," He said sweetly. "You, Mrs Thompson, have the reality of love."
Mamma then showed Him Papa's picture and He kissed it.
After a while He left us and was absent for some time. When He came back He said: "I have been in every room in your house."
And when He bade us goodbye, as He swung down the stairs with His powerful step, His voice rang out: "This house is blessed."
After He had gone I sat in the chair He had sat in and wrote an appeal to Percy Grant: "I tried to reach you by phone this morning to tell you the Master is soon returning to Haifa and that He wishes to take His portrait with Him." (Percy had been exhibiting it in the chapel of his Parish House.) "And to ask if some time tomorrow I could come for it. I want to thank you too for your hospitality to the Master's picture and for your beautiful reference to it last Sunday, of which I have heard.
"You have given to many an opportunity to see at least a portrayal, if a very weak one, of a dear face which I doubt if most of us will see again. He is going back into dangerous conditions. Dear Percy, will you let Him go without saying goodbye to Him? Only the other day he was speaking of you."
To this I received a very stiff answer, merely asking the date of the Master's sailing and His address.
Eighth Street house in the late afternoon I was met with joyous news. By staying over in Montclair He had missed reserving His passage on the Mauretania and His sailing was now delayed! Also I heard that Percy had telephoned and asked for permission to call Monday.
That night the Master gave a banquet at the Great Northern Hotel.
May Maxwell, Marie Hopper, Marjorie, Rhoda, Mamma, and I sat at the same table. Just before the food was served the Master rose from his seat, a vial of attar of rose in His hand, and passed among all the tables, anointing every one of His guests. As His wonderful hand, dripping perfume, touched my forehead, as He scattered on my hair the fragrant drops, my whole being seemed to wake and sparkle.
At the end of His talk He said: "Such a banquet and such an assemblage command the sincere devotion of all present and invite the down-pouring of the blessings of God. Therefore be ye assured and confident that the confirmations of God are descending upon you, the assistance of God will be given unto you, the breaths of the Holy Spirit will quicken you with a new life, the Sun of Reality will shine gloriously upon you and the fragrant breeze of the rose gardens of Divine Mercy will waft through the windows of your souls. Be ye confident and steadfast ..."
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá in banquet at the Great Northern Hotel, 23 November 1912.]
beautifully of Mamma: "If I had a mother like yours, Juliet, I would never deviate, even by a hair's breadth, from her wishes."
That night Mamma went to see Him with me. He was looking utterly spent, but He insisted on keeping us--wouldn't let us go for at least an hour.
In the meantime, at five o'clock, Percy Grant had come. The Master was out but expected back any minute. He had had to address a Women's Club early in the afternoon and from there was to go to Mrs Cochran's. Through Valíyu'lláh Khán, He had asked me to wait and detain Percy. While I was waiting in the English basement, Carrie and Mrs Champney with me, a taxicab stopped at the door; then in came Dr Grant, very big and rigid, his black clerical broadcloth and his white clerical collar firmly moulded around him.
Soon the Master returned. I can still see that Figure entering the room like a mighty Eastern king, in His long green 'abá, edged with white fur, His white turban; I can see His outstretched arms, His divinely sweet smile; can hear the music of His voice: that long "Oh-h! Oh-h!" of welcome. "Oh-h! Oh-h!, Dr Grant!" as though to meet Dr Grant were the most delectable thing on earth.
Then He took Percy's hand and held it, never letting it go while I saw them together, and began to talk smilingly to him.
"You must excuse me for keeping you waiting, Dr Grant. I am very, very sorry to have kept you waiting, very sorry. But I was captured by three hundred women this afternoon. Is it not a dreadful thing to be captured by so many women? (At this I felt wickedly amused.) "The women in America dominate the men," the Master continued. "Come upstairs with Me." And still
holding Percy by the hand, with the lightness of a spirit He led him up the first flight. I shall never cease to see those two figures. The King of the East--and the West--in the garments of an Eastern king, leading the way to an upper chamber; the resistant clergyman, hardened into his clerical clothes, stiffly following, pulled up the stairs by a too strong hand.
But when Percy came down, after a very long time, his whole face was changed. His eyes were like burning stars, his mouth softened, relaxed. He grasped my hand and pressed it. "May I take you home, Juliet?"
"Thanks, Percy, I am staying here for a while."
Soon after he left, Dr Faríd rushed down the stairs to me.
"There is hope--great hope," he said. "He was a changed man today. Entirely different from last summer. He seemed deeply touched at the thought of the Master returning into danger and asked if we would cable him if any trouble should arise, so that he might do whatever he could. He asked also if, from time to time, the Master would send him news, 'through one of your humblest followers,' he said.
"When he spoke of danger the Master replied that He had never feared danger and told him the story of the Turkish Investigating Committee sent to 'Akká by 'Abdu'l-Hamíd. How the verdict of this Committee was that He--'Abdu'l-Bahá--must die; that He must either be crucified at the gate of 'Akká or sent alone to the desert of Fezan, where He would inevitably starve. How at that time the Italian consul, a friend, had arranged for a ship to be sent to Haifa, ostensibly with cargo, but really to help the Master escape. And how the Master had said: 'My Father, Bahá'u'lláh, never delivered Himself, though He had the opportunity. From this
Prison He spread His Teachings. I, therefore, will follow in His footsteps. I will not deliver Myself.'
"Then," Dr Faríd went on, "the Master told Dr, Grant of the hastening of the Committee to Turkey to lay its verdict with all possible speed before the Sultán, but before they landed on Turkish soil, 'the cannon of God had boomed forth at the gates of the Sultán's palace.' 'Abdu'l-Hamíd was deposed by the rising of the Young Turks and 'Abdu'l-Bahá set free.
"'So,' ended the Master, 'God delivered Me.'"
The miracle had happened. Percy Grant was "a changed man!"
The next day, 26 November, while I was waiting in the Master's house, He sent Dr Baghdádí to bring me to His room. May Maxwell was with Him and Dr Baghdádí remained. I sat on the floor at my Lord's feet.
Smiling down on me, He said: "Why does Mrs Maxwell love you so, Juliet?"
"Because she is my spiritual mother."
"In Montreal, when I was staying with her, she was always mentioning your name and Lua's. 'Juliet, Lua. Juliet, Lua. Juliet, Lua,'" chanted the Master. "That was her song."
"May and Lua, May and Lua," I smiled, "are the two dearest names to my heart."
"This is well," said the Master.
May turned to Dr Baghdádí. "Ask the Master," she said, "if I may be allowed to speak of something to Him." And when she had received permission: "My heart is tortured at the thought of all the children who are starving for love in these days. So little is understood
[Photograph of Juliet Thompson and may Maxwell]
of the privileges of motherhood. The children are left to nurses and brought up in blighting environments. I want to ask His prayers for the mothers of America. Juliet," she whispered to me, "join in this supplication."
I put my best foot forward to support her: "I should like to join in May's supplication that the women may soon realize that motherhood is their first function." But, even as I spoke the words I saw how funny they were, coming from me--and that I had spread a snare for my own feet, which I suspect May wanted me to do!
The Master smiled broadly.
"What are you doing advocating this, Juliet? Where are your children? Mrs Maxwell has a child, but where are yours? If you had married, you too could have brought children to me, one to sit on each knee! A sterile woman is like a fruitless tree. Of course," He added, smiling again and quoting my words of last summer, "of course you will say: 'What can I do with my heart.'"
"No, I won't say that any more," I answered. "You can do something with my heart if I cannot. You can make me a new heart. And now, since the Master has spoken of this," I said to Dr Baghdádí, "there is something I should like to ask Him. Last spring and summer He was indefinite with me about ... Dr Grant; perhaps, as I have been thinking lately, because I wasn't strong enough to bear the truth. But I believe I am stronger now and ready, at a word from Him, to renounce this hope. Is it not to be fulfilled?"
"No," said the Master. "Otherwise, I would have told you."
For a moment we sat in His Presence silent. In the fire of that Presence, in that little moment, my hope of twelve years melted away. As it vanished, a miracle happened. The Being sitting before me, now writing on a bit
of parchment held in the palm of His hand, changed from a body to a sun-like Spirit. I saw Him translucent, luminous, and depths of iridescence opened behind Him.
"Oh," I cried, tears coursing down my cheeks, "since that phantom of a hope went, I have entered the Presence of God."
The Master said nothing. He was still writing, writing mysteriously.
"May," I whispered, "do you remember that prayer: 'As the Pen moves over the pages of the Tablet by which the musk of significances in the world of creation is exhaled?'"
After a while the Master looked up. "I wish you to marry, Juliet," He said. "I wish you to bring Me children to hold on My knees. God will send someone to you who will be agreeable to you."
What did it matter?
"May I ask one thing, my Lord? May I supplicate for Percy's soul, that in the end he will see the truth?"
"We must always pray for him," answered the Master.
Mrs Krug and Carrie came in then. I hated to cry before them, but I couldn't stop.
"Don't cry, don't cry," said the Master, as only He can say it.
"Oh, that Voice!" whispered May.
"No, no. Don't cry." This from Grace Krug, with a very disapproving look.
"I seem to be in flames, my Lord--the flames of Thy love, Thy Presence--and to be melting."
But He saw deeper. "Khayr," (no) He said slowly.
"NO!" echoed Mrs Krug.
"You must be happy," the Master ended, "because of this thing I have told you."
As I said, this happened in the afternoon of 26 November. The morning had been a tremendous one.
Knowing that my Lord would be at the Kinneys', I went directly there. On the way up in the bus a great wave of tears, like a tidal wave, rose from my heart (I didn't know why) and threatened at any moment to break over me.
I found the Master on the upper floor of the Kinneys' house with the Persians, Carrie and Ned, Nellie Lloyd, and Mr Mills. The Tablet of the Branch was being translated under the supervision of the Master. Dr Baghdádí and Dr Faríd were working on it, submitting it time after time to the Master before He was satisfied with their rendering. I shall never forget His sternness, His terrific majesty as He directed that translation.
The wave of tears did break as I listened and watched. I was shaken beyond all control. Mírzá Mahmúd and Valíyu'lláh Khán tenderly tried to calm me.
7 December 1912
28 November, Thanksgiving Day, was to be a day of rest for our Beloved Lord. It had been given out that no one would be received at the house that day. So, when the telephone rang about noon and Ahmad, at the other end, asked me to come immediately to the Master, I felt so singled out and privileged! And to be alone with Him and the Persians--that would be something important, something wonderful.
But He met me with a grave, almost stern face. And
with a command which at once banished my complacent hope. Swiftly crossing His room to the door where I stood, He said, without even a greeting: "Mrs May Maxwell is sick. I want you to go with some medicine to her and to spend the afternoon taking care of her." He walked back to the window, beckoning me to follow Him. Then He picked up a glass from His table and a bottle of rosewater. "Give her this," He said. "Pour out so much," (He poured about an inch into the glass) "and so much water. Put in some sugar, the sugar of your love. Drink this yourself." He gave me the glass He had been preparing, for my cure, and, looking pointedly at me, began to pray.
Feeling strangely numb, I said, as I drank the rosewater: "Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá!"
He turned to the window and looked out.
"Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá," I echoed.
Again and again He repeated the Greatest Name and I repeated it after Him, praying with Him.
At last He said: "Now go to Mrs May Maxwell. Telephone your mother that I have sent you to her as she is sick, to spend the afternoon with her."
Then He bowed, still grave, and I left Him, the bottle of rosewater in my hand.
couldn't overcome that strange vein of cruelty in the love I think she felt for me. We were still divided when she died. This was one of my great failures.
Another significant thing: Nine years after that date, on 28 November 1921, our Beloved Lord ascended. Could this have been the reason, with His pre-vision, that He spent that day in 1912 in solitude?)
"Yes," He answered gently, "you are spiritually sick. Had you been physically sick I would have sent you a doctor instead of Juliet."
"All of you may stay," said the Master, "on the condition that Juliet doesn't cry."
I tried so hard after that to squeeze back the tears, but I couldn't. I wiped them away furtively as they trickled down one by one.
He kept us with Him an hour. Dorothea Spinney--an Englishwoman and a Theosophist--spoke of a vision she had had while meditating. She has seen a great globe of fire which she seemed to know was "the Centre of Peace".
"I should like to understand this," she said. "What, or Who is the Centre of Peace?"
The Master had been writing on a piece of parchment held in the palm of His hand. He continued to write, not looking up, leaving Miss Spinney's question in the air.
And all the time He glowed more and more, like the sun dispersing clouds, pulsing out with every breath intenser light.
"Look at His Face," I whispered to Miss Spinney, "and see the Centre of Peace."
By and by He spoke: "Excuse me for writing," He said, "it was very important. You asked me concerning visions. Sometimes the thought becomes abstracted, enters the World of Reality, and there makes discoveries."
Then He rose and began to pace up and down and discovered that I was crying.
"Oh my Lord," I cried, in a panic, "what are You going to do with me?"
"I am going to find a Mister for you," He laughed.
One day, however, He was very stern. Holding the book of the Hidden Words in His hand, walking back and forth with that step which always makes me think of the prophecy, "Who is this that cometh from Bozrah, Who treadeth the wine-press in His fury?" lifting the Hidden Words high, He said: "Whosoever does not live up to these Words is not of Me."
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá with the Kinney family in their home in New York.]
At last came the day before He sailed.
"May I stay in some corner of this house all day," I asked, "that I may breathe the same air with You this last day?"
"What does your mother say about it?"--laughing.
"She said I might."
In the afternoon He called me. He kept me in the room a long, long time, seeing many others while I sat there. When He had dismissed them all, He came close to me and took my hand.
"There is a matter," He said, "about which I want to speak to you. The photographs of the portrait you painted of Me, you have offered them for the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. I know your circumstances, Juliet. You have not complained to Me, you have said nothing, but I know them. I know your affairs are in confusion, that you have debts, that you have that house, that you have to take care of your mother. Now I want you to keep the money" (for the photographs) "for yourself. No, no; do not feel unhappy," (as I began to cry) "this is best. You must do exactly as I say. I will speak about this Myself to the believers. I will tell them," He laughed, "that is it My command."
I thanked Him brokenly.
I can see Him now, pacing up and down the room in front of the line of Persians, who stood with bowed heads and folded arms in the Glory of His Presence, deeply aware of its Divineness.
Then Valíyu'lláh spoke: "Juliet wants to know if You are pleased with her, or not?"
(I had spoken out my troubled heart to dear Valíyu'lláh.)
"I am very much pleased with the love of Juliet," answered the Master.
My Lord, I pray that my life may please You."
"Inshá'lláh." And that was all!
"And that my services may become acceptable to You. I know I have not begun to serve You yet."
The Master said nothing.
But that night He healed my broken heart, healed it by a tone in His voice as He spoke to my mother, which was the essence of God's tenderness, a tone unimaginable to those who have only heard the human voice.
As Mamma approached Him to bid Him goodbye, He said: "Ah, the mother of Juliet; the mother of Julie!" (Mamma's pet name for me.)
"I can't bear to say goodbye," said Mamma.
"Inshá'lláh, I shall meet you in 'Akká, Mrs Thompson, and there I shall greet you with 'Welcome! Welcome!'"
This was on the night of 4 December.
He asked me to come to the Emerys' (where He had been staying for a few days) the morning of 5 December, the day of His sailing; and I was there at eight o'clock. That last morning. I stood at the door of His room, gazing in, my eyes drinking their fill, if they ever could drink their fill, of the Divine Figure as He sat, or stood, or moved about the room.
He called me in twice. The second time He took my hand. "Remember," He said, "I am with you always. Bahá'u'lláh will be with you always."
Carrie Kinney was there that morning and Ned, and 'Alí Qulí Khán and Florence, Edna Ballora and her husband, Harriet Magee, Mrs Parsons, and Mrs Hannen. The Master had invited Mamma too, but she had not felt well enough to go.
"Rest assured," He said when I told Him, "that she will be healed." And He filled my arms with fruit for her.
We drove to the boat, then followed Him up to His cabin. Many believers were crowding the cabin. Later we all went upstairs and sat in a large room with Him. Very soon He rose, and, walking up and down, delivered to us His last spoken message.
First He described heartbreakingly the war now raging in the Balkans. Then He said: "As to you: your efforts must be lofty. Exert yourselves with heart and soul that perchance through your efforts the light of Universal Peace may shine and this darkness of estrangement and enmity may be dispelled from amongst men ...
"You have no excuse to bring before God if you fail to live according to His Command, for you are informed of that which constitutes the good-pleasure of God ...
"It is My hope that you may become successful in this high calling, so that like brilliant lamps you may cast light upon the world of humanity and quicken and stir the body of existence like unto a spirit of life.
"This is eternal glory. This is everlasting felicity. This is immortal life. This is heavenly attainment. This is being created in God's image and likeness. And unto this I call you, praying to God to strengthen and bless you."
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá leaving America on the Celtic from New York City.]
He seated Himself again in a corner of the large cabin, all the believers flocked around Him. I sat opposite Him at a little distance, weeping quietly. A great fear had taken possession of me, a question risen in my mind which must be answered or I should have no peace--I should be left in a frantic state. I rose and walked over to Him and stood before Him.
"My Lord," I said, "each time I have parted from You: in Haifa, in Europe, You have said You would call me again to You. Each time You gave me hope that I would see You again. But this time You gave me no hope. Won't I see You again, my Lord?"
"This is My hope," He replied.
"But still You don't tell me, my Lord, and it makes me feel hopeless."
"You must not feel hopeless."
This was all He said to me. It killed me. While I sat, weighed down with despair and grief, He drew from an inside pocket the purse Dr Grant had sent Him last summer, laid it on His knee and looked at me. To me it seemed a promise that He Himself would take care of Percy. And this was the very last.
It was death to leave that ship. I stood on the pier with May Maxwell, tears blurring my sight. Through them I could see the Master in the midst of the group of Persians waving a patient hand to us. It waved and waved, that beautiful patient hand, till the Figure was lost to sight.
[Photograph: 'Abdu'l-Bahá--the last photo taken in America, 1912.]
(1947. Because of those blurring tears I could not see the look on His face, the look of profound agony, as though He were on the cross, as He bade His immature children farewell, foreseeing for us so many sorrows, so many failures, and a world gone to pieces because of our failures.
This look I have seen ever since in a photograph taken at that last moment.)
 Holy Mother is the title of Munírih Khánum, the wife of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Holy Leaves designates the women of Bahá'u'lláh's family.
 Mrs Carrie Kinney, a prominent Bahá'í from New York.
 Dr Amínu'lláh Faríd (Ameen Ullah Fareed), nephew of `Abdu'l-Bahá.
 Dr Faríd's half brother. (p. 5.)
 Father of Dr Faríd and brother-in-law of `Abdu'l-Bahá. He was one of the Persian teachers sent to America by `Abdu'l-Bahá at the turn of the century.
 Rector of the Church of the Ascension in New York. Juliet was, at this time, in love with him.
 Sister of `Abdu'l-Bahá; the premier woman of the Bahá'í Revelation.
 Two of `Abdu'l-Bahá's daughters.
 A Bahá'í from Paris.
 An allusion to Rev. 5:5.
 See Luke 1:22
 Howard MacNutt, a leading Bahá'í from Brooklyn.
 Írán was at this time in the midst of the Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911. Eventually, the country was divided into two spheres of influence: Russia took the north, and Great Britain the south.
 Cf. Rev. 21:4, Isa. 25:8.
 Cf. John 3:8.
 Lua Getsinger; one of the first American Bahá'ís; the "Mother Teacher of the West."
 Mrs Ellen Beecher, grandmother of Hand of the Cause Dorothy Baker.
 Mrs Agnes Parsons, a prominent believer from Washington, D.C.
 A Persian Bahá'í living in New York.
 Mrs Mabel Rice Wray Ives, a Bahá'í from Newark, N.J.
 Cf. Mark 10:24.
 Matt. 10.8.
 Matt. 13:27.
 This had taken place on 27 April 1909.
 The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh.
 NOTE: A discrepancy exists in the various manuscripts of Juliet Thompson's diary concerning the identities of the children from the East mentioned here.
 John 10:16.
 Leaders of Muslim orders.
 This I have written from memory with the help of Munavvar Khánum, so it is not so strong as when the master gave it.--J.T.
 Cf. Matt. 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16.
 That day (the third of July) we had been to the House of the Blessed Perfection in `Akká. It is a palace, spacious, stately, but it has not the charm of the Master's House. In the room of the Blessed Perfection was a marvellous atmosphere. I felt intense vibrations, currents of Life. When we left, X leaned her head against the door.--J.T.
 Ibráhím George Khayru'lláh (Kheiralla)--The believer who first brought the Bahá'í Faith to America. He later rebelled against `Abdu'l-Bahá and broke the Covenant.
 Cf. Luke 18:9-14.
 That is, Howard MacNutt, Hooper Harris, and William Hoar. This refers to disputes involving these believers which took place in the New York Bahá'í Community.
 The early name of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of New York.
 See God Passes By, pp. 269-71.
 Isa. 53:5, 1 Pet. 2:24.
 Mrs Louise Gibbons, a Bahá'í from New York.
 Rev. O. M. Fischer, an Episcopal clergyman who was also a Bahá'í in New York.
 Mr Albert Windust, a Bahá'í from Chicago.
 Táhirih, Bábí heroine and Letter of the Living.
 A musical term: an altered note (such as a sharp or flat) foreign to the key indicated by the signature.
 Mr Sidney Sprague, a prominent American Bahá'í and travelling teacher.
 In 1893 Rev. Grant had become rector of the New York Church of the Ascension, long the stronghold of fashionable, orthodox Episcopalians, but now with a dwindling congregation in a declining neighbourhood. His sweeping innovations were successful, but controversial: pews were no longer private property, but opened to the public; sermons were preached on issues of the day; new afternoon musical services attracted hundreds; Sunday evenings, the People's Forum debated political and economic questions, often until midnight. Grant became the militant leader of the radical wing of the city's clergy.
 An oral tradition of the teachings of Muhammad.
 The intent of this tradition is, of course, metaphorical. The Bahá'í Faith rejects the doctrine of Divine incarnation. The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith states: "God ... can in no wise incarnate His infinite, His unknowable, His incorruptible and all-embracing Reality in the concrete and limited frame of a mortal being. Indeed, the God Who could so incarnate His own reality would, in the light of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, cease immediately to be God." (World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 112)
 At this time, large numbers of people were becoming Bahá'ís in Írán.
 The Ridván Garden, a short distance from `Akká, was one of Bahá'u'lláh's favourite resting places.
 Some Answered Questions.
 The Bahá'í Proofs.
 Many of the early American Bahá'ís believed that `Abdu'l-Bahá was the Return of Christ, despite His many denials. In one Tablet `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote: "You have written that there is a difference among the believers concerning the `Second Coming of Christ'. Gracious God! Time and again this question hath arisen, and its answer hath emanated in a clear and irrefutable statement from the pen of `Abdu'l-Bahá, that what is meant in the prophecies by the `Lord of Hosts' and the `Promised Christ' is the Blessed Perfection (Bahá'u'lláh) and His holiness ... (the Báb). My name is `Abdu'l-Bahá. My qualification is `Abdu'l-Bahá. My reality is `Abdu'l-Bahá. My praise is `Abdu'l-Bahá. Thraldom to the Blessed Perfection is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to all the human race my perpetual religion ... No name, no title, no mention, no commendation have I, nor will ever have, except `Abdu'l-Bahá." (World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 139)
 The passage in the Aqdas reads: "Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá [Tihrán] ... Ere long will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people." (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paras 91 and 93, pp. 53, 53)
 1936. There seems no reason to conceal it now. He gave me a cylinder of gold louis, so that I might be able to return.--J.T.
The Louis d'or was a gold twenty franc piece, at the time worth slightly more than five US dollars.--ED.
 Hájí Mírzá Haydar-`Alí, an early believer and champion teacher of the Cause in Írán, was known to Western pilgrims as the "Angel of Carmel". See A. Q. Faizi, Stories from the Delight of Hearts.
 Cf. Mark 14:3.
 "There is no room in my heart for any but Thee," I said to Him once. "I want you to be like that," He answered, "to be filled with the Love of God, to be entirely cut from the world and always to hold to My garment."--J.T.
 When He is speaking, His mouth has an upward turn at the comers, which gives Him that divine, smiling expression. --J.T.
 Cf. Matt. 13:8 and Luke 8:8.
 Cf. Isa. 66:1.
 Isa. 52:7.
 In the Arab and Muslim city of `Akká, women were obliged to remain indoors.
 Rev. 16:15, 1 Thess. 5:2. See also Matt. 24:43 and Luke 12:39.
 Rev. 1:12.
 This time my heart is more sensitive. His voice pierces and wrings it. Every note of that voice makes my heart quiver.--J.T.
 Dr Yúnís Khán Afrúkhtih, who served `Abdu'l-Bahá in Haifa from 1900 to 1909; Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, half brother of `Abdu'l-Bahá; and Mírzá Munír-i Zayn, son of the famous Bahá'í scribe Zaynu'l-Muqarrabín.
 While I was walking with Rúhá the day before on Mount Cannel, as we sat on a fallen tree to rest, she had broached the subject of my marrying Mason Remey. Our Lord had told her to ask me about it. "You are treating Juliet like one of Your own daughters who were married in this way," Rúhá had said. "It is too strong a test for her." "Just ask her and see what she says," our Lord had repeated. "But," added Rúhá to me, "if the Master should command me now: `Go, leave your husband and children and jump into the sea,' I would go and jump!"--J.T.
 Mírzá Mihdí, the Purest Branch, the youngest son of Bahá'u'lláh and His consort Navváb (Ásíyyih Khánum died after an accidental fall from the roof of the prison in `Akká. See God Passes By, pp. 188-89.
 The cylinder of gold louis the Master had given me so that I might return to Him.--J.T.
 Cf. Matt. 10:14, Mark 6:11, and Luke 9:5.
 Ahmad Sohráb, who had lived in the United States, but was at this time residing in Egypt.
 Professor Dickinson Miller, educator and philosopher; then a professor at Columbia University.
 Matt. 5:13, Luke 14:34.
 Disputes had developed in New York between Mr MacNutt and other prominent Bahá'ís. It became the general opinion that MacNutt's teaching of the Faith was incorrect in some aspects.--ED.
 Enlarging the Board from nine to nineteen members.--J.T.
 He said "see them again." Ten years ago, in 1926, I went--and saw them, and the beloved Guardian. But the Master was not there.--J.T.
 During the First World War, Hippolyte, then in the army, guarded a bridge!--J. T.
 1947. When I saw Laura this year I said: "Remember Thonon!" "The waterfall," she answered.--J.T.
 Edith Sanderson, a Bahá'í from Paris, and her mother.
 The X of the Thonon diary is not the X of the `Akká diary, but somebody else who must remain incognito.--J.T.
This X is Annie Boylan.--ED.
 See Gen. 18:32.
 "He has such a good, such a simple bearing." "Yes, and eyes of fire!"
 Apparently, either May Maxwell or Marjorie Morton.
 1924. Lilian died serving in Persia.--J.T.
1947. Some years later Elizabeth also died from an illness contracted there.--J.T.
 Sultán Husayn Mírzá; grandson of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh.--Ed.
 1947. Years later I heard that he had been born again--a Bahá'í--and was serving the Cause with great zeal in Persia. His poor young brother, Prince Bahrám, died in the First World War, on a torpedoed ship.--J.T.
 Juliet was, at this time, a member of the Church of the Ascension. It was not until much later that the Guardian of the Faith instructed the Bahá'ís of the United States to sever formal affiliations with churches. See Messages to America, pp. 4-5.
 Cf. Star of the West, III:3 (1912) p. 4.
 Ahmad Sohráb, now part of `Abdu'l-Bahá's entourage.
 1947. In the years that followed she would often say to me: "I love the Master more than you do, Julie, and I obey Him better than you do, for He performed a miracle for me, which He never did for you! He took all the bitterness out of my heart."
There was another occasion, which I find I haven't mentioned in my diary, when my darling little mother knelt before the Master. This was a public occasion, after He had spoken in a church. The service over, the whole congregation, including a multitude of believers, surged toward the chancel to shake hands with Him. Mamma was the only one in that long procession who sank to her knees and kissed his hand.--J.T.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 7-9.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 9-11.
 A follower of the economic philosophy of Henry George who advocated a single tax on profits from the sale of land.
 An allusion to the Last Supper. See Mark 14:15 and Luke 22:12.
 Cf. The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 11-13.
 Cf. Some Early Bahá'ís of the West, p. 78.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 14-16.
 At the time, equal to about two-hundred-fifty dollars.
 This baby was Mary Maxwell, later Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum.
 1947. This was fulfilled years after, but by that time my heart was severed; and to my everlasting shame, I was cruel to him.--J.T.
 Cf. The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 32-34.
 Dr Faríd, within the year, turned traitor.--J.T.
 `Alí Qulí Khán, the Chargé d'Affaires for the Persian Legation.
 See The Bahá'í World, Vol. 12, p. 668.
 The wife of `Alí Qulí Khán.
 Senator Stephen Benton Elkins; died 4 January 1911.
 Mrs Barney Hemmick, a Bahá'í from Washington, D.C.
 Mr MacClung died soon afterward.--J.T.
 At 227 Riverside Drive, New York.--ED.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 123-26.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 126-29.
 In December of that same year, Mrs Tatum came to see me. "The Master," told me, "said such a strange thing to me just before He left America. I had been saying how sorry I was that I had left my car in Boston and couldn't put it at His disposal as I had done last spring. He answered: `Soon, Mrs Tatum, you will not need your car, for you will be riding in a chariot of fire.' I wonder, Juliet, what He meant by that!" Within a few weeks, dear Mrs Tatum died suddenly.--J.T.
 Louis Potter, one of the best-known sculptors in this country, also died in 1912, in August, very tragically. Even after seeing the Master and really loving Him, he was still seeking truth in other directions. He went out to California to follow a spiritual quack, whose methods of healing killed poor Louis. The last thing from his gifted hand was [a] beautiful medal with the Master's profile on it.--J.T.
 Bahá'ís to not believe that `Abdu'l-Bahá is a Prophet of God, although this was a widespread notion at this time. The prophets of the Bahá'í Faith are Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb.
 Mount Morris Baptist Church. See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 147-50.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 163-71.
118 After this, Walter Hampton came to the Master every day--he never missed a day--till our Lord went to Dublin [New Hampshire].--J.T.
 The famous conservationist.
 See Mark 10:17-22 and Luke 18:18-23.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 213-16.
 We never dreamed how soon He would be with her there.--J.T.
`Abdu'l-Bahá journeyed to California, arriving in San Francisco on 1 October 1912. Lua made the arrangements for his visit.--ED.
 1947. There may have been two meanings to that visit to the Museum and the second meaning I could not have thought of till 1940, when I became so deeply involved in the Bahá'í work in Mexico and completely at one in heart and spirit with the believers there.--J.T.
 1947. He died of his humiliations which were more than human flesh could bear. And in the end he would weep and say to a friend, who told me afterward, "Do you think we did all we could have done for the Master?" He tried his best to communicate with me, but fate had made me inaccessible. "I must write to Juliet," he said. "There is something I must tell her." I have never known what this was.--J.T.
Dr Grant was eventually publicly disgraced and forced to resign his position in the Church of the Ascension. He retired to his country home and died less than three years later.--ED.
 1947. Just after the Master ascended, dear Mrs Goodall died and Ella sent the rosary back to me. Several years later I gave it to Romeyn Benjamin. It played a miraculous part in his life and when he died, eight years ago, again it came back to me.--J.T.
 In exactly a month, to the day, He saw me in Green Acre, where Mamma and I were His guests for four days.--J.T.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 431-37.
 The Miss X of this and the Thonon diary.
 See announcement of their engagement, Bahá'í News (later Star of the West), I:9 (1910), p. 11.
 The extension room on the second floor of 48 West Tenth Street, now divided into two rooms.--J.T.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 447-48.
 See Bahá'í World Faith, pp. 204-207.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 449-56, 460-61.
 See The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition, pp. 469-70.