Ive just started The Priceless Pearl and LOVE Ruhiyyih Khanom's style of writing. I havent even finished the first chapter and im already glued
Dr Baghdadi recounts how, on one of these visits when Shoghi Effendi, a child of five or six years of age, accompanied his parents, the Greatest Holy Leaf and other members of the family there, he spent most of his time in Dr Baghdadi's room, looking at the pictures in his medical books and asking questions. It seems Shoghi Effendi wanted to see something actually dissected; he was not satisfied with just pictures. This zeal for knowledge (and no doubt those large eyes, so insistent and intelligent) quite won over the young medical student who had a victim provided - a large wildcat - and proceeded to cut it up in front of Shoghi Effendi, one of his aunts and the servant who had shot it. They watched in absorbed silence. When it was over, and Dr Baghdadi was asking himself how such a small child could have understood what it was all about, he was astonished to hear Shoghi Effendi recapitulating word for word the salient points of what he had described during his dissection.
Shoghi Effendi was a small, sensitive, intensely active and mischievous child. He was not very strong in his early years and his mother often had cause to worry over his health. However, he grew up to have an iron constitution, which, coupled with the phenomenal force of his nature and will-power, enabled him in later years to overcome every obstacle in his path. The first photographs we have of him show a peaky little face, immense eyes and a firm, beautifully shaped chin which in his childhood gave a slightly elongated and heart-shaped appearance to his face. Already in these earliest pictures one sees a sadness, a wistfulness, a haunting predilection for suffering that is like a shadow on the wall - the shadow of a child magnified to the stature of a man. Fine-boned, even as a mature man, shorter than his grandfather had been, Shoghi Effendi was more akin physically to his great-grandfather, Bahá'u'lláh. He [Shoghi Effendi] told me [Ruhiyyih Khanom] himself that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's sister, the Greatest Holy Leaf, would sometimes take his hand in hers and say "These are like the hands of my father". They were what I call intellectual hands, more square than tapering, strong, nervous, the veins standing out, very expressive in their gestures, very assured in their motions. Amelia Collins, who lived in Haifa many years, always said that to her all the suffering of the Guardian's life was reflected in those hands. His eyes were of that deceptive hazel colour that sometimes led people who did not have the opportunity to look into them as often as I did to think they were brown or blue. The truth is they were a clear hazel which sometimes changed to a warm and luminous grey. I have never seen such an expressive face and eyes as those of the Guardian; every shade of feeling and thought was mirrored in his visage as light and shadow are reflected on water. When he was happy and enthusiastic over something he had a peculiar habit of opening his eyes wide enough to let the upper rim of the iris show and this always made me think of two beautiful suns rising above the horizon, so brilliant and sparkling was their expression. Indignation, anger and sorrow could be equally clearly reflected in them, and alas, he had cause to show these too in his life, so beset with problems and sorrows. His feet were as beautiful as his hands, small like them, high arched, and giving that same impression of strength.
It may sound disrespectful to say the Guardian was a mischievous child, but he himself told me he was the acknowledged ringleader of all the other children. Bubbling with high spirits, enthusiasm and daring, full of laughter and wit, the small boy lead the way in many pranks; whenever something was afoot, behind it would be found Shoghi Effendi! This boundless energy was often a source of anxiety as he would rush madly up and down the long flight of high steps to the upper story of the house, to the consternation of the pilgrims below, waiting to meet the Master. His exuberance was irrepressible and was in the child the same force that was to make the man such an untiring and unflinching commander-in-chief of the forces of Bahá'u'lláh, leading them to victory after victory, indeed, to the spiritual conquest of the entire globe. We have a very reliable witness to this characteristic of the Guardian, 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, Who wrote on a used envelope a short sentence to please His little grandson: "Shoghi Effendi is a wise man - but he runs about very much!"
These random little facts bring this book to life