With 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Thonon, Vevey, and Geneva
23 July to 23 November 1911
8 April 1936
"Love devastates every country where He plants His banner."
In 'Akká I had looked upon the Mystery of Love and of incarnate Sacrifice. I returned, this vision filling my eyes, blinding me to all lesser values. This, and the fact that I was so immature both spiritually and in worldly wisdom, caused me to become, myself, the instrument of the devastation. But I devastated not my country alone, but others. When, this winter, I read my diary of 1910, I was crushed with shame, and remained so for weeks, because of my blind, cruel blundering all through that awful year. Then came a flash of what I believe to be perception, and this has comforted me. My Lord, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who "saw the end" where I saw "only the beginning" (and in Whose compassionate hands are the lives of all) had, in reality, offered me two choices: first, my own will; then, His Will--or what appeared to be His Will. Though I played my small part so miserably, at least I chose the Master's Will. When in my extremity I still clung desperately to His Will, He released me from my engagement to Mason Remey. As for "the other man": as I review the whole drama of my connection with his life, ending in tragedy, it is clear that at every crisis, something diviner than fate stood between us. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, had another plan for me. And this, I believe, was His plan from the beginning.
Sunday, 23 July 1911
Nothing could have been further from my thought than that I should begin this volume somewhere off the coast of Ireland! I had expected to begin it in our new home: a small, very old house on Tenth Street, from the windows of which, if I lean out just a little way, I can see the tower of the Church of the Ascension, and even--the rectory!
But there came a Call ...
Ten days ago, on 13 July, I received a letter from Ahmad. To my infinite surprise, for I had only just heard from the Master, I found it contained a Tablet. These are the words of the Tablet:
O Thou who art attracted by the Breath of the Holy Spirit!
When thou wert leaving to return to America and this made you sad and unhappy and you wept, I promised I would summon you again to My Presence. Now I fulfil that promise. If there is no hindrance and you can travel in perfect joy and fragrance, you have permission to be present. In this trip there is a consum-
mate wisdom and in it praiseworthy results are hidden.
Upon thee be Bahá'u'l-Abhá.
(signed) Abdul Baha Abbas
In Ahmad's letter was the amazing news that the Master was on His way to London to attend the Universal Races' Congress which was to open the following week and last for three days.
"If you can sail in a week," wrote Ahmad, "you will find our Lord in London."
I leapt over every "hindrance" (and three of them were high walls) and within the week, with Silvia Gannett, boarded the Lusitania.
Just before I left I broke the news to Percy Grant. He said something blasphemous--violently--then did something to break my heart.
Well, that is no "hindrance," I thought, I can leave him to her.
He spent the last evening before I sailed with me.
"Don't you want to send a message to the Master?" I asked.
A mocking look came into his face.
"He sent you one," I went on, "from 'Akká, when I was there. But I have never been able to tell you about it, because whenever I have mentioned the Master to you, Percy, you have answered in a flippant way. But I can't go back to Him now until I have delivered it.
"I spoke of your work to Him and He called you 'a great soul'. Then He invited you to visit Him. I can repeat His very words. 'When you return, say to Dr Grant: If you will go yourself to 'Akká, you will find that
which is beyond imagining. If you go, you will find all you had imagined useless in comparison with the Reality. If you go you will receive that for which you would not exchange all the kingdom of the world.'"
"That was a very whole-souled message," Percy replied. "Tell Him that if He comes to New York I will welcome Him gladly. Tell Him I think He would find New York a big enough field even for His great work!"
"I don't think that message will do," I said.
"Tell Him, judging by His fruits," (with a meaningful look at me) "His Teaching is the most beautiful spiritual force in the world."
"I shall certainly not tell Him that!"
"Tell Him I am very happy to have a share in those fruits--"
"No; nor that either."
"I can't suit you with a message! Well, tell Him I feel that what He is trying to do in the world is very beautiful and potent."
Then I gave up!
S. S. Lusitania
I should like to write of a dream I had two days before my Tablet came, for I think it is something that should be kept.
I had been praying at dawn. Afterwards, putting the Master's brown 'abá over my bed and hoping for a vision, I fell asleep.
I awoke in a vast, dim crypt, with many aisles branching away into utter darkness. I was standing, alone in the crypt, beside an enormous grey sarcophagus. Then in
the far, far distance, I saw two figures in white, in long robes and turbans, walking out of the shadows in my direction, and I recognized the Master and Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, "the Angel of 'Akká". Something is going to happen; I shouldn't be here, I thought. But I can't escape now. There is nothing to do but hide. And I crouched behind the sarcophagus. The next picture in my dream is of the Master and Mírzá Haydar-'Alí bending over the sarcophagus. Then they lifted its lid and dropped into it, drawing down the lid after them. Now I could make my escape! I tried to steal away on tiptoe, but before I had taken a dozen steps, my shoes creaked! At this, the Master rose from the centre of the sarcophagus, His face unsmiling--stern.
"You may stay," He said, "but keep perfectly still."
Once more I crouched, holding my breath.
First there was an awful silence; then, from within the sarcophagus, I heard the strains of a solemn chant; then groans, followed by blood-freezing screams. And I thought, What can the Master be doing to Mírzá Haydar-'Alí?
But somebody else was in that sarcophagus. The end of it suddenly burst open and out of it dashed a figure racing up and down so fast that all I could see were flying garments and a shaven, bluish head with a black fez on it. At last, exhausted, he sank to his knees on the ground, shielding his face with one arm. Then he rose and crept back into his coffin.
Then, down every aisle of the crypt came armies on the march, a standard-bearer with a flag leading each regiment, so that soon all the flags of all the nations drooped above the sarcophagus as the armies gathered around it. And then I saw a lovely woman standing
among the flags. She wore a long white tunic, her hair was bright gold, and she radiated light.
While I watched this brilliant and formidable scene, wondering how 'Abdu'l-Bahá could be concerned with a pageant, the figure with the bluish head and the fez again broke open the end of the sarcophagus. But now I saw: Satan himself! Now he was naked, fully exposed, with a white body and great dark bat's wings springing out from his shoulders--even with the orthodox tail and hoofs! And now he stole from his hiding place and, like a serpent--sinuously--wound his way in and out between all the standard-bearers, creeping under all the flags, wriggling his way among all the armies, all the national groups!
The dream changed. I was in New York, in the Peoples' Forum. Percy Grant was sitting on the platform in the Parish Hall and his mother, Sylvia Gannett, and I standing among the empty chairs just vacated, I knew, by a large audience. I bent to kiss Mrs Grant. She looked up, her eyes full of tears.
"I have seen Him," she said, "the Master. He spoke to me. Oh, there was never such a Face in the world!"
"You have seen Him!" I cried. "Where was He?"
"In here; a moment ago."
"But--a moment ago He was in the sarcophagus."
Then Percy rose and went out.
Friday, 4 August 1911
I am still in London, waiting for the Master to come. He did not attend the Universal Races' Congress. They had asked Him to speak on philosophy and to make no
reference to religion, so He sent a representative, Tamaddunu'l-Mulk. (Tamaddunu'l-Mulk is about four feet high and his name means The Civilization of the Country.)
The three days' conference opened with an ode written by Alice Buckton. Here is one verse:
What thunderous tread of viewless feet
From citied walls where waters meet,
From isles of coral foam;
From Western prairies red with corn,
From sacred temples of the morn,
True British idealism! The last session ended in a brawl. Annie Besant ("Pa, with Ma's bonnet on her head," as Mrs Standard called her) took the platform and hurled the monkey wrench.
"This talk is all very well. But what about India?"
Then--the uproar in crescendo till the very last minute!
When I hear that the Master was not to be at the Congress, I cabled to Him for instructions. The answer came: "Wait."
9 August 1911
I have just had another cable from our Lord. It says: "Remain."
Here in London a little group is humbly preparing for His coming. Devoted hearts are waiting for Him. Every night we all gather at dear Miss Jack's and pray.
The English believers have been so kind to me: dear Miss Rosenberg, dear Mrs Knightley (who calls me "cousin", since we have an ancestor--Lord Edward Fitzgerald--in common), Mrs Stannard--the most fascinating woman, whom I met in Beirut two years ago and immediately loved; Lady Blomfield; the Jennens; Miss Faulkner; Miss Buckton; and others. And our own believers who are here: Maud Yandall, the Chicago friends with their warm hearts, my beloved Isabel Fraser, Miss Pomeroy, Rhoda Nichols, Albert Hall and Mountfort Mills. And, of course, little Tamaddunu'l-Mulk.
22 August 1911
THOMPSON, 5 SINCLAIR ROAD, LONDON.
COME HERE. HOTEL PARC.
(signed) Abdul Baha
23 August 1911
(We are on the way to the Master, Tamaddunu'l-Mulk and I, and though we are sitting up all night long in a second-class coach with a family of four Swiss peasants--oh, we are so happy!
Oh, tomorrow! But I cannot imagine tomorrow. Tomorrow I shall be with Him in Europe, in the mountains of Switzerland.
The "Sun of the West" moves toward the West, and, in this majestic advance, this thrilling moment in time and in eternity, when, in His actual Presence, He rises and shines on the West, He has blessed and honoured this humble child of His by calling her to His side. All day, as
[Photograph: A group of Bahá'ís in London (c. 1912).]
I travelled through France, I seemed to be hastening toward Him down a path of white radiance.
How strange! It was 13 July, two years ago, when I tore myself, weeping, from my Lord in 'Akká. It was on 22 August, that I said my heartbroken goodbye to Him in Haifa. This year, on 13 July, came His Tablet, "summoning" me again to Him; and this year on 22 August--yesterday--the summons to Switzerland came.
Tamaddunu'l-Mulk is asleep. I shall spend the night in prayer. Wonderful night! More wonderful: the Daybreak!
27 August 1911
A great white hotel. At its entrance, two oleander trees in bloom. Inside, high ceilings, white walls, glass doors, rose-coloured carpets, rose-coloured damask furniture. Beyond the green terrace with its marble balustrade, Lake Geneva. Behind the hotel, two mountains overhung with clouds. In the halls and strolling through the grounds: gay, artificial, dull-eyed people. Passing among these silently with His indescribable majesty, His strange Power and His holy sweetness, the Master--'Abdu'l-Bahá--unrecognized but not unfelt. As He passes, the dull eyes follow Him, lit up for a moment with wonder.
I found my beloved Laura and her dear husband, Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney, already here.
had been almost fatally ill and was slowly recovering in Washington when I said one day to my brother, "Coming so close to death makes you think. And I have been thinking lately that it is time for another Messenger of God." The very next day Laura burst in on me, taking me by complete surprise, for I had not heard of her return from Paris. "Yesterday, Juliet," she said, "I was in Bar Harbor. Tomorrow I sail from New York for Palestine. But I couldn't sail without first seeing you to tell you why I am making this pilgrimage. Juliet, the Christ-Spirit is again on earth, and--as before--He is in Palestine."
During my illness, the night of the crisis--months before Laura came to me--I actually saw 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In the midst of physical anguish and with darkness closing down on me, I had felt a great pulsation of love from the head of my bed and thought that my mother must be sitting there. I turned and, instead, there sat a Figure built up of light, with a dazzling turban and hair like a flow of light to His shoulders, and with His hands cupped on His knees. Jesus is here, I thought peacefully and glided away into sleep. And when I awoke the crisis was passed. Later my mother said to me: "That night of the crisis while I was praying I saw a great Light shining beside your bed.")
"You here!" I gasped. "I always wanted to tell you about this."
"Why didn't you?" he asked.
I left him in a moment, I could not wait, and flew up the long white hall (blessed hall where His voice and footsteps ring!) till I came to an open door. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk had already entered. I paused at the door. Then I saw ... saw once more after these years of unspeakable longing: my Father, my King, and my Beloved.
He was just moving forward in the room, His white robe, His black 'abá sweeping in lines of strange grace, dominated by that head of immortal majesty. In an instant I was at His feet.
I have no words to tell it. Can words paint Glory? The smiling Face that looked down on me then, as though from high heaven? One thing I know: God always smiles--smiles mysteriously.
"Are you happy, Juliet? Happy to be here? How many years since you were 'Akká?"
"You had a long wait in London? When did you arrive? You were put to trouble to wait?"
"Oh no! Your Presence was with us in London. The friends were very kind to me. And if I was waiting, it was for You, my Lord."
"Or course the friends were kind. The believers must all serve one another. I want you to be the first handmaiden of God. I am the believers' first Servant. You know how I serve them."
I covered my face with my hands, for I realized our littleness and saw Him as the Word of God.
"How is your mother?" (in English) "Your mother? She is good--very good?"
"She is always good."
"She is pleased with you?"--looking at me archly, knowing quite well she was not!
"Not very, I'm afraid," I laughed.
"The day will come when she will be pleased with you, when she will be very proud that you have received such bounty and favour from Bahá'u'lláh."
"Will it come in her lifetime, Lord?"
"Inshá'lláh!" Then He nodded His head assuringly.
I had been exhausted when I came, after staying up all night long; I had not been able even to wash. But suddenly from His Presence I felt Life flowing, rushing toward me; I felt an electric current revivifying me, and when I went to my room and looked in the mirror--afraid of what I might see in it I found that I had a bright colour and my lips were brilliantly red.
28 August 1911
I am in Vevey with Edith Sanderson. My heavenly Visit is over. Yet I am not separated from Him.
"We will never be separated." He said to me. "I shall be with you always. You will go back to America and I may return to 'Akká, but we will be together."
31 August 1911
I sailed from Vevey today down the Lake of Geneva. There was a heavy mist and the mountains loomed like phantoms through it. The lake, full of swans and white sails, gleamed. The Swiss shore was veiled to a tender green, its chalets and villages blurred like etchings on blotting paper.
From Lausanne I strained my eyes toward Thonon. Then, suddenly the boat turned and made straight for the French shore. My heart leaped. We were going to Thonon: Thonon, my Paradise!
Ah, there were the fishnets spread out in the sun; there the grove of trees at the landing with that brilliant foliage--such a polished green that it looks wet--and in the dark shade under the trees, the lily-bed; there, there His hotel, white against the mountains. I could even see the window of His room!
Eagerly I searched the faces at the landing. Surely little Mulk would be at the landing, to meet me and take me back to my Lord. It must have been for this that the boat had docked at Thonon. Hippolyte, Laura perhaps ... No. There was not one soul I knew.
With unspeakable desolation, with a sense of utter helplessness, I found myself carried away from Thonon. Heaven was behind me then!
The perspective of the mountains changed. The rowboats rocking on metal waves, the funicular railway, the grey old house with its shaggy brown roof which Laura
and I had found so interesting--all the familiar landmarks become in those four full days intensely intimate--receded and were blotted out by the mist. The hotel only remained, a "White Spot", seeming to grow with the distance miraculously whiter, flashing its message to me as long as it could; for, though at last the mist dimmed it, it was not till a physical object intervened, not till a ridge of the shore came between, that it vanished from sight.
Then came a frantic desire to communicate with Thonon. This cannot, must not be the last, I thought. I will telephone Hippolyte as soon as I reach Geneva.
In the Hotel de la Paix I went straight to the phone.
"Ah Juliet!" said Hippolyte's dear voice. "Do you know that the Master will be in Geneva tomorrow? He wished me to get into touch with you to tell you that He was coming. And He wishes Edith and her friend, Miss Hopkins, to join you at your hotel and spend tomorrow night with you. He will arrive with the Persians in the evening."
Mr Miller had been invited to lunch and the Master placed him, with me, at the head of the table, Himself sitting at the corner, I on His right. Our table was half closed in by big white columns. Mr Miller asked some questions, on work in and with the Christian Church, on the validity of mystical experiences, and, at my suggestion (with Percy Grant in my mind) on the economic problem.
The Master was specially vivid and vital that day, yet these words seem so poor, so human. I can think of Him
only in terms foreign to earth: "The Dawning-Point of Light," "The Dayspring" ...
From His radiant height of knowledge He gave us great answers, but to put these into my own language would spoil, would desecrate them. More than one phrase I repeated to Professor Miller out of sheer delight in its perfection. He would nod in response with a happy look.
In reply to the question about the church (most important to Mr Miller as he is considering resigning his chair at Columbia to enter the ministry) the Master said religion was one truth which the sectarians had divided; however, the Light can be found everywhere, and it was good to unite with the people, especially in work for humanity and when one's own motive was pure. He dwelt on the purity of the motive. All that tended to unite was good; whatever resulted in division was harmful. I am sorry to repeat only these broken fragments. His answers were so clear, so brilliant, so simple that you wondered at your own question. But the words themselves were elusive. Mortal lips could not frame such phrases, nor mortal ears register them.
As to mystical experiences: most assuredly the saints and mystics had real experiences. The proof of the experience was its fruit. If the result was spiritual we might know the experience was from God.
"Ask a question for me," I said to Professor Miller. "I know what the Master will say, but I want the answer for Dr Grant. He doesn't see the need for the Bahá'í Teaching. He thinks it a sort of 'Quietism'. He says that to bring about social progress we must first work along practical lines."
Mr Miller put the question beautifully. "There are some who feel this way," he ended, "and one man in
particular feels it so strongly that he is making it his lifework."
"Such people," replied the Master, "are doing the work of true religion."
Then He went on to explain that a new order must come, but first a solid foundation must be laid for it, and no foundation was solid enough except religion, which was the Love of God. Such a basis as the Love of God, He said, would inevitably result in the rearing of a great Structure of social justice and individual love and justice.
"These are just the answers," said Professor Miller, "that Dr Grant would like."
The Master then told him of the Divine Plan for a House of Justice and of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár.
After lunch we sat in the reception room: a large white room, all mirrors and glass doors (and rose-coloured furniture), looking out on the lake, the terrace and the stone balustrade.
In the morning, in the Master's room, I had mentioned my acquaintance with Professor Miller.
"I always wanted," I said, "to give him the Message."
"Now I have given him the Message," laughed the Master.
"Now I see why I did not!"
After lunch Mr Miller spoke of his friendship for me.
"Your love must increase from this day," said the Master. Whereupon the professor, who is very shy, blushed as red as the chair he was sitting on and looked really frightened. "You must become like brother and sister," our Lord hastily added, with one more lovely phrase on the future of our spiritual relationship. As Professor Miller took his leave, he seemed to be deeply moved.
"I shall never forget this day," he said.
The Master put His arms around him, then gave him a good strong slap on the back and bade him goodbye most lovingly.
When he had gone, the Master turned to me: "Now there is something for you to do, Juliet! I put him under your charge. There is a chance for you!"
All that day was heavenly. The Master was either in my room with Laura and Hippolyte, or we were in His, in the most charming informality. He gave us no spiritual teaching--in words--only talked gaily or tenderly with us. I had no private interviews: in fact, He took very little notice of me. But in spite of all this I saw something vaster than I had ever seen before; I felt His unearthly power, His divine sweetness even more than when I was with Him in 'Akká. Once as He stood on the stairway talking with Mírzá Asadu'lláh, the sweetness of His Love brought the tears to my eyes. It is useless to try to express it. But I said to myself as I looked on that celestial radiance: If He never gave me so much as a word, if he never glanced my way, just to see that sweetness shining before me, I would follow Him on my knees, crawling behind Him in the dust forever!
"No indeed I did not! May we all be in just such a gathering with You in New York!"
"I have made a pact with the American friends. If they keep the pact I will come."
"The believers are much better friends than they were."
"I shall have to know that! Bahá'u'lláh," the Master
continued, "was bound with a chain no longer than the distance from here to that post." With a sudden terrific agitation He rose and pointed to a column close to the table. "He could scarcely move. Then He was exiled to Baghdád, to Adrianople, to Constantinople, to 'Akká--four times! He bore all these hardships that unity might be established among you. But if, among themselves, the believers cannot unite, how can they hope to unite the world? Christ said to His disciples: 'Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?'"
"It is not Juliet's fault," said Hippolyte.
"No, it is not Juliet's fault. If every one of the believers was like Juliet there would have been no trouble," said the Master--mercifully.
"If I had done my whole duty I might have accomplished more toward unity."
"I hope you will become perfect. Inshá'lláh, through the help of Bahá'u'lláh, you will be perfect. When you return to America, Juliet, I want you to do your best to bring about unity."
"I will do my utmost to carry out every suggestion you make to me, my Lord. I will work, not alone for the sake of the believers, but for the sake of others who would follow You if they could see You."
"Had it not been for these divisions," said our Lord, "the Cause would have made great progress by now in America."
"Are you happy, Juliet?"
"So happy and so at rest. This is the happiness of the Kingdom."
He asked me about the election of the new Board in New York. I told Him what I could and that I had brought a letter explaining.
"Is Mr Hoar on the Board? Mr MacNutt?"
"I don't know, my Lord. I sailed before the election."
Then I spoke of how Mr MacNutt had been forced out of everything. If he were not on this new Board, which had been organized by his friends, it was, I felt sure, by his own choice. He thinks of himself as a stumbling block to harmony and now keeps out of the way.
"I proposed this change Myself," said the Master, "in order that he might serve on the Board." Then He laughed, with that wonderful gleam of humour in His face. "All these Boards and committees: of what importance are they? The really important thing is to spread the Cause of God. I am not on any committee. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk and Mr Dreyfus," (for Hippolyte had just come in) "are not on any committee!"
"Speak to Me, Juliet."
My heart was too full. I could not. After a moment I said: "May I sit on the floor?"
"But you will be tired."
I sat on the floor at His feet.
"This is like 'Akká," I said, looking up at that matchless Face. Then, to surprise Him, in Persian: "Man
Shumá rá khaylí, khaylí dúst dáram." (I love You very, very much.)
Taking my hand and pressing it, smiling down at me, He said something in Persian to Mulk.
"What is He saying?" I asked.
"He is praising you very much. He says that your heart is pure. He Himself bears witness to this. He is your witness. He proves your heart to be pure." (Mulk had already told me of all the slanderous letters about me received by the Master.) "If He says this it makes no difference what the people say."
The Master spoke again to Tamaddunu'l-Mulk.
"He says He sent for you out of pure affection. It was nothing but affection. There was no other motive in His sending for you." Mulk had told the Master how badly I felt about my broken engagement to Mason Remey. "He had promised to send for you again and He thought that while He was in Europe would be a good opportunity, that you could come to Europe more easily than to 'Akká."
"Beg Him to so fill me up with His Love that I may express my gratitude for this affection by true service in America."
"He says that you are already full of love for Him and when you return to America you will serve Him; that your attraction in this Cause and your devotion to it are in themselves service."
"I feel that I have failed in all I undertook to do when I last left Him. I have had great lessons in my own weakness."
"The Master says your weakness will be turned into strength."
"You will be strong--strong," said the Master directly
to me in English, "and when you go back this time you will have a greater power."
Letters were brought to Him and He talked of various things. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk handed Him a booklet of Warwick Castle, where, at the invitation of the Countess of Warwick, the members of the Races' Congress had spent a day--we with them, of course. The Master laughed, pushed the book away and gave Mulk a slap.
"What do I care about it?" He asked. "If a good believer lived in it, that would be different! Once, when I lived in Baghdád," He went on, "I was invited to the house of a poor thorn-picker. In Baghdád the heat is greater even than in Syria; and it was a very hot day. But I walked twelve miles to the thorn-picker's hut. Then his wife made a little cake out of some meal for Me and burnt it in cooking it, so that it was a black, hard lump. Still that was the best reception I ever attended."
I had two more private talks with our Lord that morning. In the second, something I said brought forth this answer: "The child does not realize the parents' love, but when it becomes mature it knows." He said this looking out of the window and His face was very sad.
"Can the creature," I asked, "ever know the Love of the Creator?"
"Yes. If not in this world, then in the next, as a sleeper wakens."
It was during my third visit to Him that I spoke of the Holy Household, spoke of each beloved one with tears in my eyes. His own kindled with the warmest love as He answered: "They too love you, Juliet, and always talk of you--especially Munavvar. It is always 'Juliet, Juliet.'"
"Oh, may I go and see them again?" I asked.
"Assuredly you will go and see them again."
The day before I arrived, Zillu's-Sultán came over to Thonon for a few hours, and straight to the Hotel du Parc.
Hippolyte Dreyfus, when he was in Persia, had met this Prince, had visited him in his tent while he--the prince--was on a hunting trip. And now he met him again on the terrace of the hotel. The Master too was on the terrace, pacing up and down at a little distance. Hippolyte was standing in the doorway when he saw Zillu's-Sultán coming up the steps. The prince approached and greeted him, then turned a startled look toward the Master.
"Who is that Persian nobleman?" he asked.
"That," answered Hippolyte, "is 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
And now Zillu's-Sultán spoke very humbly.
"Take me to Him," he begged.
Hippolyte told me all about it: "If you could have seen the brute, Juliet, mumbling out his miserable excuses! But the Master took him in His arms and said: 'All those things are in the past. Never think of them again.' Then He invited Zillu's-Sultán two sons to spend a day with Him."
And so it was that Prince Bahrám came to lunch.
A beautiful boy--Prince Bahrám--like a Persian miniature. His skin is as smooth as ivory, his straight features finely chiselled, his eyebrows meet in a thin, black line across His nose. But being so young he is wholly unawakened spiritually, and he hasn't any manners at all! After lunch, assuming the privileges of a royal prince and Muslim, he stalked out of the room ahead of Laura and me--when the Master, in spite of our protests, had insisted on our preceding Him. However the Master said later: "Bahrám Mírzá bad níst," (Prince Bahrám is not bad) so I can afford to be tolerant!
After lunch, returning to the white- and rose-coloured room, the Master placed me on His left and the prince on His right and we all had coffee. The coffee was served first to the prince. To my great surprise he rose and offered his cup to me. Too completely disarmed, I immediately "bent over backward", figuratively speaking.
"Won't you keep it?" I asked.
"No," he replied solemnly, "it has two lumps of sugar in it. I don't like two lumps of sugar."
Neither did I!
"Did you ever think, Juliet," said the Master, laughing, as we got into the car with Him, "that you and Laura would be riding in an automobile with Me in Europe?"
We drove to a country inn where a little later, after a walk, we were to have our tea. As the Master stepped down from the car, about fifteen peasant children with bunches of violets to sell closed in on Him, formed a half circle around Him, holding up the little purple bunches, raising their eyes to His Face with grave astonishment. They pressed so close that they hid Him below the waist, and the benediction in the look He bent on them I shall never forget. Of course He bought all the violets, drawing from His pocket handfuls of francs. But when He had given to each child bountifully, they held out their hands for more!
"Don't let them impose!" cried Laura.
"Tell them," said the Master very gently, "that they have taken."
He turned and walked into the forest, followed by Laura, Hippolyte, and me. Hippolyte had told Him of "the Devil's Bridge" deeper down in the forest, a place celebrated for its beauty, and the Master wanted to see it. His excitement over beauty is wonderful to watch and perfectly heartrending when you think of His long, long life in prison. He--our Lord--led us to the Devil's Bridge! I can see Him now, just ahead of us, the white robe, the black 'abá, the white turban, the beautiful sway of His walk among the trees.
"What is it," I said to Laura, "that makes that stride of the Master's so unique? Its absolute freedom?"
Laura found she couldn't walk as far as the Devil's Bridge, so I waited in the woods with her, both of us
seated on a rock, while Hippolyte followed our Lord. When they returned, the Master sat down on another rock and beckoned me to His side. So close to Him, the fragrance of His Divinity enveloped me and I realized at least something of the moment's sacredness. Just in this way the disciples of nearly two thousand years ago must have sat with their Lord to rest. The sunlight through the trees made their leaves translucent, but even against that green glassiness, the Master's clear profile shone, like a lighted alabaster lamp.
We walked back to the inn through the woods, He leading us. As soon as He reappeared on the lawn of the inn the children again swarmed around Him, their hands still outstretched. Laura sternly ordered them off, for they were certainly imposing. "He would give away everything He has," she whispered to me. But the Master had discovered a tiny newcomer, a child much younger than the others, with a very sensitive face, who was looking wonderingly at Him.
"But," He said, "to this little one I have not given."
We went into the inn (after the Master had given to the "little one") and had tea on the porch, sitting at a rough pine table on a rough bench--two mountains, with evergreens climbing them, towering above us. The inn was in the cleft between. At another table sat a man who could not keep his eyes off the Master and at last ventured to speak to Him, opening the conversation by saying that he had lived in Persia. Our Lord called him over to sit with us--which he almost leaped to do--then invited him to come to Thonon.
Again, when we left the inn, the children swarmed around the Master and again Laura tried to save Him from their greediness.
"But here," said our Lord, "is a boy to whom I have not given."
"You gave to them all," said Laura.
"Call Hippolyte," ordered the Master. "I did not give to this boy, did I, Hippolyte?"
"I believe you did not."
Then the Master gave.
In the years to come they will tell stories along the Lake of Geneva of the visit of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Thonon. Then those little children, perhaps old men and women by that time, remembering a Face like a great dream at the dawn of their lives, may ask one another: "Was it He?"
During the whole drive He was always discovering lovely things and with vivid animation pointing them out to us: the bright green of the fields and hills, the neat villages, a spire rising from a cluster of Swiss houses, or from some lonely spot on a mountain. A tiny village, high among the peaks, caught His eye.
"How can the people there stand the winter? It must," He said with the tenderest sympathy, "be too severely cold for them."
It was just after we left the waterfall that the Master turned, smiling, to me. "If I come to America, Juliet, will you invite Me to see such waterfalls?"
"I will invite You to Niagara if You will come to America! But surely, my Lord, Your coming doesn't depend on my invitation."
"My invitation to America will be the unity of the believers."
"Louise Stapfer asked me to give You her love and beg You to come and unite us. Otherwise, she said, we will never be united."
"No, you must do that yourselves. See in what perfect harmony we are now! You are not complaining of one another. But if I should go to America they would all be complaining of one another and ..." (He laughed and made a lively gesture with His hands) "I would fly away!"
Once, breaking a silence, He said: "There was no one in the world who loved trees and water and the country so much as Bahá'u'lláh."
So sad was His voice that it was like a sigh and I seemed to feel what He was thinking. He was free at last to travel about the world and see all the beauties of
nature, which He too loved, while the Blessed Beauty had lived for long years walled up in that treeless city, 'Akká, and died still a prisoner.
A little later I spoke: "If only, like the disciples of Christ, we could follow You everywhere, all through our lives."
The Master beamed brightly on me. "We are together now. Be happy in the present," He said.
I mentioned my dream about the crypt and asked if I might tell it to Him, but it sounded so awfully queer as I told it that Laura, Hippolyte, and I began to laugh; and the Master's own face twitched a little, I thought. However He said: "You must not laugh at this dream," and asked me to go on telling it.
But just as I came to the end, our car drew up at the gate of a ruined castle and we all got out and walked over to look at it. After this I was sure I would hear no more of my dream, but as soon as we were settled in the car again the Master reopened the subject.
"You must write down that dream, Juliet," He said.
"I have written it, my Lord."
"Ah, Khaylí khúb!" (Very good!)
Then He said something to Hippolyte, laughing, and with those vivid gestures of His, continued to talk for some time. What He said I couldn't catch--I know such a tiny bit of Persian--but Hippolyte told me afterward, rather reluctantly! that the Master was speaking about dreams. He had laughed at Hippolyte because he did not believe in them and had explained that there were three kinds of dreams: dreams that come from some bodily disorder, symbolic dreams, and those in which future events are clearly foretold. When the soul is in a state of
perfect purity it is able, He said, to receive a direct revelation from God. Otherwise, it sees in symbols.
Then He told us the story of a man, a Christian, who had visited Him in 'Akká and expressed his disbelief in dreams.
"But," said the Master, "your own Sacred Writings mention such things."
Still the man remained sceptical. A few months later, however, he reappeared in 'Akká, sought the presence of the Master, and immediately fell at His feet and attempted to kiss His hand, which the Master will never allow.
"In the Name of Bahá'u'lláh, let me kiss Your hand," pleaded the Christian. He then went on to confess that now he did believe in dreams. He had learned, he said, through a sorrowful experience that the Master had spoken the truth to him.
One night when he was away from home he had had an alarming dream of his little daughter. She had come to him, sat on his knee and complained that her head ached. Rapidly she grew worse. They sent for the doctor. The father knew in his dream that she was hopelessly ill and felt the most acute anguish. Then he saw her die.
The following night he returned to his home and his daughter came and sat on his knee. "Father," she said, "my head aches." Then followed her illness, her death.
"As the mind has the power when awake to think constructively or to dissipate its powers uselessly, so, when the body is asleep, it can either construct or dream meaningless dreams."
"When the body is asleep," I asked, remembering a theory, "can the mind construct at will?"
"No, no," said the Master.
As we drove toward Thonon, the sunset flooded the sky with glory. Behind the immortal head of the Master rose amethyst mountains, their summits hidden in rolling fiery clouds. But that Godlike head surpassed both clouds and mountains in grandeur.
Entering the town we passed a stone wall with an enormous sign painted on it--an advertisement for chocolate--the letters so big that the sign was a block long.
With one of His swift changes, the Master, rippling with amusement, pointed to the advertisement.
"What is that?" He asked.
When Hippolyte explained. He burst out laughing.
"Is chocolate so important in Thonon?"
My Spirit! My heaven!
Your heart for Me, your breast for Me!
Always for Me, always for Me!
Your eyes for me, your mind for Me,
Always for Me!
Your soul for Me, your spirit for Me,
Always for Me, always for Me!
Your blood for Me, your blood for Me,
Your blood for Me!"
The Master had made a lovely plan for the next day: we were all to go to Vevey with Him to visit Mrs Sander-
son and Edith, but--we missed the boat! Although we were terribly disappointed, this was as nothing compared to the nightmare that followed. Annie Boylan arrived from Lausanne about ten o'clock, completely surprising us, as we had no idea that she was in Europe.
She came into the Dreyfuses' room--where Hippolyte, Laura, and I were sitting--in a state of suppressed fury and almost immediately boiled over with the most revolting slander against Mr MacNutt. This, she said, she intended to lay before the Master to prove that Mr MacNutt was unfit to serve the Cause. She had made the trip to Thonon especially for this purpose!
But the Master did not appear, and I thought of His words the day before: "If I should go to America they would all be complaining of one another and I would fly away." He had flown!
Hours passed and still no word from the Master, till lunchtime. Then Mulk brought a message from Him asking us to excuse Him, He was not well enough to lunch with us but would see us later.
It was not until five o'clock that He came to the Dreyfuses' door. He looked very tired and worn. After greeting Annie Boylan lovingly, He took a seat by the window and told her He had a message for the believers in New York which He wished her to convey to them. I wrote His words down as He spoke them.
"In this Cause," He said, "hundreds of families have sacrificed themselves. There have been more than twenty thousand martyrs. The breast of His Highness the Báb
was riddled by dozens of bullets; Bahá'u'lláh suffered years and years in prison; and We have had all these difficulties and borne all these trials that the canopy of Oneness might be uplifted in the world of humanity, that Love and Unity might be established amongst mankind, until all countries become as one country, all religions be merged into one religion, all the continents be connected and between all hearts a perfect understanding and love may appear.
"The people of Bahá must be the cause of uniting all the nations. They must dispel inharmony and dispute. So now we must consider deeply how the Bahá'ís must really be, what characteristics they must have and what actions they must perform.
"And if there is not this love and harmony among Bahá'ís how can they cause it to appear among the inhabitants of the earth? How can an ill man nurse others? How could a pauper give wealth to others? So the first thing the Bahá'ís must do is to feel love and unity in their hearts before they can spread it among others.
"Is it possible to conceive that all the troubles, all the trials of Bahá'u'lláh and the martyrs have been without result? Surely you will not have it so! If you would all act entirely in accordance with the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh no discord would ever appear. Then all disagreements will vanish, and be certain that the pavilion of Unity will be hoisted in the world of man.
"Each nation, each people that has understood and felt the Love of God has progressed and developed, but where discord has sprung up in the midst of a nation, that nation has been dispersed.
"I know you would not have all these trials and dif-
ficulties produce nothing. Therefore I am waiting and expecting to hear that love and harmony have blossomed in the hearts of all the Bahá'ís in America.
"Now the Bahá'ís must be occupied in spreading the Cause of God and furthering the instructions of Bahá'u'lláh, and not spend their time in disputing with one another. If they do the first, all will be happy; they will be assisted by the Breath of the Holy Spirit and become the beloved of His Heart."
While the Master was speaking Annie Boylan continued to bristle, jarring the whole room as she seethed with her bottled-up "proof", which now of course she dare not "lay before the Master". She couldn't even mention Mr MacNutt! I saw her as an embodiment of the discord in New York, and those terrific vibrations, blasting into the Master's happy holiday (the first one in all His life), nearly killed me. I listened really in torture.
Suddenly the Master turned to me.
"What is the matter, Juliet? Are you not happy?"
I answered in Persian that I was unhappy.
"You must be happy," He said, "that you are going back to New York to serve Me."
When Annie Boylan had gone, the Master came into my room. Tamaddunu'l-Mulk was with me and we placed a chair for Him by the window, from which He could see the dark sweep of the mountains. I said it had torn me to pieces to hear the jangle of discord in His Presence.
"I know," He answered, "and that was the reason I told you to be happy, for you were returning to serve Me. I meant that you were returning to work for unity."
"Oh my Lord," I said, "wasn't it Abraham who prayed to the Lord to save Sodom and Gomorrah for the
sake of five righteous men? Now," I laughed, "I am going to be like Abraham and beg You to come to America for the sake of just a few, for some will never understand."
The Master, too, laughed--such humour in His eyes.
"If it were not so long a trip: if it were a little trip, like Paris, or London, or Vienna, I would come for your sake," he said tenderly. "But when I come it must be for a long visit. I am going to Chicago, to Washington, and even to California, and I have not the time this year. But I will come--Inshálláh!--when the moment arrives."
He spoke of Mr MacNutt. "The reason I suggested this new election," He said, "was that Mr MacNutt might serve on the Board again. But do not tell anybody this; it would only stir up a quarrel. However, go directly to Mr MacNutt and tell him I said this. He is not on this Board, but next year something must be done so that he may be elected. I have," He concluded, " a very great affection for Mr MacNutt."
"I want to go!" He said in English. Then I heard Him down the hall calling "Mademoiselle!" at the door of Tamaddunu'l-Mulk: little "Civilization of the Country", who has taken to corsets lately to improve his figure.
Oh, that day; that day!
We drove to the boat all together--nine of us--in a big
station wagon, the Master placing me opposite Him. At the landing is a dense grove of trees--I think I have already mentioned it--with polished-looking leaves and very dark shade under them; in the shade a bank of white lilies and close to the lilies a bench. The Master asked Laura and me to sit on the bench with Him. Soon, however, He rose and went off alone and for a while we lost sight of Him. When we saw Him again He was walking on the bench, behind fishnets hung out to dry.
Laura touched my hand. "See where He is, Juliet," she said.
"Yes: on the shore of a lake--behind fishnets. Oh, Laura!"
He walked slowly on, looking almost transparent in the early-morning sunlight, till He came to the edge of the grove. There He turned inland and walked among the trees. Through their leaves, the sun flecked His bronze 'abá with fiery spots dazzled on His turban and His long silver hair and drew a crystal line, like a halo, down His profile to His feet. A child, light as a fairy, glistening in her white dress, danced up a path to His left. Our Lord stopped for a moment to watch her. Then, mysteriously, He vanished! We saw the boat coming closer, closer, and looked around wildly for the Master. Where and how had He disappeared so quickly?
On the landing we found Him waiting for us, and followed Him to the gangplank. All the people on the landing stared at Him as He moved quietly forward with that strange power and that holy sweetness. Children raised their eyes to His face. He put out a tender hand and caressed their heads.
We gathered around Him on the boat, Laura, the Persians, and I, and for a while He sat silent and grave in our midst. Then suddenly He turned and smiled at me.
"You never dreamed, Juliet," He said, "that you would be with Me in a boat."
"I have often dreamed that I was with You in a boat!"
"But you never thought it would be fulfilled in this way!"
"No," I smiled. "I never did. I couldn't have imagined this!"
To be with Him in a boat on this lake so like the Sea of Galilee! He sat with His bronze 'abá around Him, His hands hidden in its full sleeves, so that the sleeves with their straight, massive folds looked like great wings. The mist-veiled Alps were His background and His Majesty so dominated them that they appeared as no more than a filmy drop-curtain. The mist thickened, almost blotting out the mountains, blending them into the lake, and I felt that we had left earth with Him and our boat was sailing through ether. Just as I was thinking this, He said: "Others are passing from an immortal to a mortal kingdom, but the Bahá'ís are journeying, in the Ark of the Covenant, from a mortal to an immortal world. The Jews once turned to the Kingdom, but when they looked backward to mortal things, they became dispersed. Then Christ led men to the Kingdom; their signs have remained. God be praised that now you are on a Ship bearing you to immortal worlds. Day by day your signs will become clearer."
Later the Persians brought Him tea and when He had finished I begged to "drink from His cup". Mírzá Rafí', adding some water to the kettle, poured out a cup for me.
The Master turned and smiled at me; then He laughed. "The tea for Me, the water for Juliet!" He said.
I am sure the future will adore Him also for His humour. The joy of His spirit overflows in the most
delicious humour and gives Him a look of unconquerable youth.
"O Son of Delight!" I have just seen this phrase in the Hidden Words. The Master is all delight.
3 September 1911
On 3 September 1909 after leaving the Holy Presence in Haifa, I sailed from Naples. Here I am again on 3 September 1911. These strangely repetitious dates! Tonight, as I saw that great pile of beauty, Naples, rising, jewelled with lights, against the clear rose of the afterglow--as I heard the voices of singers in the distance--how vivid were my memories of 'Akká, Haifa; of the Master there! It is midnight now and I am too tired to write, but tomorrow I will tell they story of our day in Vevey.
4 September 1911
We arrived at Vevey. Edith was waiting on the landing and we drove with her to the hotel. There, we went straight to the room reserved by her for the Master. To my joy He called me to sit beside Him.
Mrs Sanderson (Edith's mother) has never been attracted to the Cause. She has felt like my own dear mother about it, not caring at all for most of the believers! But she could not take her eyes from the Master's face. "His beautiful face!" she whispered to me. Two of Edith's friends came in, Miss Hopkins and Miss Norton.
Miss Hopkins is a Catholic, Miss Norton an agnostic. Miss Norton, when she saw the Master, seemed to be
strangely overcome. Her face trembled, her eyes widened, as though she were looking at a spirit. I thought that at any moment she would burst our crying.
She and Mrs Sanderson brought up the question of immortality (which Mrs Sanderson feels it is cowardly to believe in) and I wrote down the Master's answer as Mulk translated it. Here it is, though I hate to give it in Mulk's poor English. Edith understands Persian. "You cannot imagine," she said to me, "how ruinous the translation is. The Master puts life into every word. Translated, the words sound flat. Besides, the Persian is so rich and He has a way of saying the same thing over differently, in various poetic forms and with subtle shades of meaning. In the translation it is all alike."
"Jesus during His life had so many afflictions and no happiness or comfort and in the end He was crucified. If there were no immortality to follow, then nothing could be more useless than such a life.
"Take, for example, the life of Hannibal. In the world we would find none happier than he, for his life was one of pleasure and conquest and he triumphed wherever he desired. But Jesus had many afflictions. Were there no immortality we might say that Jesus was not even rational. But at the hour of His crucifixion, He knew He was leaving the mortal for the immortal life; He knew He was leaving the physical to ascend to the spiritual world. When they put on His head the crown of thorns, He thought of the crown of the Kingdom. While He was hanging on the cross He thought of the eternal throne.
"But now we come to the proofs. Those who do not believe in immortality have some proofs. For example,
one is this. They divide existence into two kinds; imaginary existence and that of the senses. They say that since the immortal kingdom is not of the senses there can be no such kingdom. This is their proof! By this proof they deny!
"But Jesus and Bahá'u'lláh answer the people who do not believe thus: Every rational man can see that the world has come out of non-existence into existence. Life progresses from the mineral kingdom to the vegetable kingdom, from the vegetable to the animal, and from thence to the human kingdom. Were there no spiritual kingdom, life would be useless.
"For example: We plant a tree, we water and care for it. From branches we see it advance to leaf and from leaf to fruit. Should the fruit be opened and found to contain nothing, all would be useless. So the people of common sense, studying the universe, see that creation must have a result.
"The people of the world say: 'Where is the immortal world? When we look about us we do not see it. We only see the world of elements.' Therefore the Prophet says: 'Those in the station below cannot see the station above.' We are in this room, we cannot see beyond the ceiling. We are downstairs, we cannot see upstairs.
"For example: The mineral kingdom has no knowledge of the vegetable kingdom. The vegetable kingdom knows nothing of the animal kingdom. Nor is it possible that it should know of the animal, because it--the vegetable--is of a lower grade; the animal is in the higher condition. If the vegetable kingdom deny the existence of the animal kingdom, does this disprove the animal kingdom's existence? No, the animal kingdom exists, but the vegetable kingdom cannot imagine the reality of it. The reason the vegetable kingdom cannot imagine the
animal kingdom is because it cannot comprehend it. But this does not disprove its existence.
"Now we come to the human kingdom. In the human kingdom is an intellectual power not possessed by the animal kingdom. The animal cannot imagine this power. A Spaniard discovered America. The animal could not understand this. The intellectual power is not disproved because it is not understood.
"As to the spiritual kingdom: An unborn child cannot understand this world. It cannot imagine a world beyond the womb. If we could tell an unborn child that there is another world, with mountains, villages, cities--so many beautiful things--could he understand? Never! Therefore Christ said one must be born a second time. As a child, by coming to this world, understands the conditions here, so we should go to the spiritual world to understand its conditions. The Prophets were born in the spiritual condition to understand the immortal world.
"For example: The unborn child would deny the existence of this world for the reason that he knows nothing of it and the best condition to him is the world of the womb, the best food his nourishment there. He could not visualize this world. But when he is born and arrives at understanding, he sees what a beautiful world this is.
"So with the spiritual kingdom. The people of this world cannot comprehend the conditions of that immortal world, but, when they reach it, they see that this, in comparison, is just like the world of the womb. The unborn child says: 'This is the best world. I am quite satisfied with it. I must not leave it.'"
I had been saying to myself: Oh, Mrs Sanderson, look at the Master and see Immortality!
The next question--Mrs Sanderson's--was about divorce, if Bahá'u'lláh approved of it.
"Bahá'u'lláh,"--the Master smiled--"says that in this world there is nothing more absurd than divorce. If one has accepted another and is a good Bahá'í he never likes to believe in divorce. But if there be a case of difference between husband and wife, where it is entirely impossible to recreate their love, where it is not possible for them to live any longer with one another, then both should go to the House of Justice and together, in perfect agreement, lay their case before it. And after this they should still wait a year, living apart but not permanently divorced, and their friends should give them good advice meanwhile. If, after one year, there is no possibility of becoming reunited, and no one is able to influence them, then this is the natural divorce.
"But between the real Bahá'ís there is no divorce. No one has ever heard of divorce between real Bahá'ís. The Bahá'í husband and wife will not allow affairs to reach such a condition."
Luncheon was announced and Miss Hopkins and Miss Norton rose to go. As Miss Hopkins bade the Master goodbye He said: "I will pray for you."
"And I will pray for you too," she answered.
This gave me a shock. At the table Mrs Sanderson spoke of it, saying that her own feelings had been "outraged" by it.
"No," replied the Master, "do not feel that way. It came from the heart; therefore it was beautiful."
I shall never forget the way He said "beautiful".
The Master had asked me to sit by Him at lunch. He was on the right of Mrs Sanderson, who sat at the head
of the table. He talked with the gentlest love to her. Soon she brought up the name of Lua and then asked me: "Have you heard from Lua lately, Juliet?
"I love Lua," she added.
"My mother loves Lua too."
"Your mother," the Master turned to me, in His voice that ineffable tenderness with which He always mentions Mamma.
"I wish my mother were here with Edith's mother."
"I shall see your mother."
I tried to speak a little Persian to Him and He helped me to construct the phrases. He had told me a day or two before that I must be sure to study Persian. "You see," He had said, "I can talk with Laura."
"Il a l'air si bon, si simple," Madame Naber was saying.
"Oui, et les yeux de feu!" said Mrs Sanderson.
Then they looked up and smiled at me and Mrs Sanderson said: "Wouldn't you like to see the view from the terrace, Juliet?"
I took the hint and walked over to the terrace, from which you can get the most marvellous view of the lake and the mountains on the further side.
Imagine my astonishment to find, sitting in the shade of a tree, Mrs Griscomb and Professor Mitchell of the Church of the Ascension!
Mr Griscomb and the Professor have been for some time vestrymen of the Church and have always actively opposed The Peoples' Forum, which is Percy Grant's chief interest. "My capitalists" Percy calls them. They are also Theosophists and have a very select group of their own, never mingling with the big ordinary group! But I was glad to see them just because they were from the church, and flew over to speak to Mrs Griscomb. She is a plump, pretty little woman with at least two professors and a husband at her feet. Professor Mitchell is sort of willowy and has a walrus moustache and, on his thin aloof nose, pince-nez with a wide black string.
"Why!" exclaimed Mrs Griscomb when she caught sight of me. "What are you doing here?"
"I have come from Thonon with 'Abdu'l-Bahá to lunch with the Sandersons. Do you know Mrs Sanderson, Mrs Griscomb? Won't you let me introduce you?"
"I should prefer to talk with you."
A little surprised, afraid I had made some blunder, though I couldn't imagine what, I hastily explained. "I asked on the impulse of the moment because it would be such a joy to present you to 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
"Thanks, I'm not at all crazy to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
The silly, insulting little answer went straight through my heart like a knife.
"I'm glad, however," she added, "if He gives you pleasure."
"Mrs Griscomb," I said, 'Abdu'l-Bahá is creating unity all through the world among all races and religions, which is a far more important thing than giving anyone personal happiness."
"I am one of those who do not decry personal happiness; and really I don't want to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá."
"You will see Him," I said as I moved away, "and then you may regret refusing."
By that time the Master was up and receiving the friends in His room. I rushed to the refuge of His Holy Presence. I was tingling all over, actually suffering physically from the blow of Mrs Griscomb's flippant blasphemy. As I entered the Master's room He sent me a searching glance but said nothing. And of course I said nothing, till I had a chance to talk to Edith.
The whole thing is extraordinary. It was through Professor Mitchell that Dickinson Miller was brought to Percy Grant's church. Now both professors come to Switzerland and are drawn to the neighbourhood, even to the Presence, of "the Dawning-Point of Divine Knowledge." How different the reactions of the two! In Professor Miller, at least a timid response, a peeping out of the soul. In Professor Mitchell: a back turned superciliously!
Professor Mitchell, Professor Miller, and Percy Grant belonged about four years ago to a sort of club, where,
with other professors of Columbia University they met to discuss religion. Professor Mitchell, whose memory is very accurate, wrote reports of those meetings and published them in book form. The book is extremely interesting. All through it the note is sounded that a great new Light is shining upon the world.
It ends something like this: "The Mathematician, left alone after the departure of his guests, goes to the window. In his ears ring the words of the Clergyman: 'The rebirth of the Christ in the whole of humanity is close at hand.' The Mathematician looks up at the stars and the vision of John on Patmos occurs to him. 'Even so,' he whispers, 'come quickly, Lord Jesus.'"
"The Mathematician" is Professor Mitchell and "the Clergyman", Percy Grant. And if this is not tragic, then I don't know what is!
"Oh my Lord, don't!" I gasped.
At last the boat came. The Master stayed on deck for a short time, during which I kept very quiet, not wishing to speak; wishing only to fix in my mind that Godlike head with the Alps for its background. Then he went off to rest.
After He had gone, a man who was sitting close to us
spoke to Mírzá Rafí'. "May I ask who that gentleman is?" he said. "I am very much attracted to His face."
"'Abdu'l-Bahá a Persian exile," answered Mírzá Rafí'--too reticently, it seemed to me.
"I thought He might be the sultan's brother, who, I hear is living in Geneva."
He evidently meant Zillu's-Sultán! As he continued to ask questions, Laura gave the Message very ably. Beside the man sat a boy of about sixteen, with fair, curly hair and the face of a Botticelli angel. He leaned forward and listened eagerly.
Later the Master came out from His cabin, but the man and the boy had left the boat at Eviens.
The Master called me to sit by Him, Mulk sitting on the other side.
"Are you tired?" I asked.
"No, I am never tired. I am very comfortable." He spoke in His sweet English.
Touching the beautiful bronze-coloured 'abá, I said: "The coat You wore when I was in Haifa, which You afterward gave to Edna, was like this in colour, and we shared it, Edna and I. She would be so sweet as to lend it to me; then I would return it to her; then she would lend it to me again. It was such a comfort to me, that coat. At night, or in the early morning, I would bury my face in its hem and pray. Then I would seem to be kneeling again at Your feet, my Lord."
He smiled very tenderly while I was telling Him this.
"Edna has become very dear to me. And she loves You very much."
"Ah, Khaylí khúb."
"I want to speak of a friend of Edna's and mine--a very dear friend--a girl who is very, very close to me,
whom I love with all my heart: M. M. It is difficult for her to serve the Cause on account of her husband."
"She must serve in the Cause. Her husband must not prevent her. Neither the husband nor the wife should hinder the other's work in the Kingdom. She must not pay any attention to that but must serve firmly. Thus she will make great progress. She must try to give her husband the Message."
"She loves You very much. Her life has been one of great trial and sorrow."
"Bravo! Bravo!" said the Master. "It makes no difference that she has sorrows. These have been the cause of her development. Through sorrow the soul always advances. The greater the difficulty, the greater the progress of the soul. Now she must begin to serve firmly in the Cause. So, she will make great progress."
Soon, all too soon, we reached the shore.
As the crowd on the boat stood still while the gangplank was lowered, two children in front of the Master turned and lifted their eyes to His face, and their eyes seemed to say: Is this God? They were very little children; they came just about to His knees. With a strong, lingering touch, as though He were leaving something with them, He pressed and fondled their heads. Then the crowd surged forward; the children and the Father were separated ... for this life?
After our return, in the early evening, Laura and I were sitting in the Master's room. He began to speak in Persian, laughing, and I caught the words "Mrs Sanderson." Then He turned to me and, still laughing, repeated in English: "Mrs Sanderson thinks this world
is good enough. Very nice, this life!" And He laughed again.
Later, while Mulk was writing in my room, the Master came in and called us into His. "Now, have you anything secret to say to me?" He asked.
"I have a message for You from Dr Grant."
"Ah!" He smiled. "Tell me."
"I told him it wasn't a good enough message and that I would not give it to You."
"Give it just the same."
"He sent You his greetings and said he hoped You would come to New York. That if You came, he would welcome You gladly. That he felt the work You were doing in the world was very beautiful and potent."
"Convey My greetings to him. Say: 'I am entirely thinking of you for the sake of Juliet who has mentioned you to me. Say that at a later date I will come to New York.' Is there anything else you wish to say, Juliet?"
"There is not a desire in my heart, my Lord."
"This is as it should be. The daughters of the Kingdom should not have a desire."
"I should, like, however, to tell You a little of what has happened."
"Speak," said the Master.
"When I became engaged to Mason Remey," (The Master looked archly at me; I smiled, but penitently.
"Dr Grant was very unhappy and disturbed, so one day I sent for him. I told him I was marrying Mason because I wished to be freer to serve the Cause."
"That was a very wise answer. You did well," said the Master.
"But I gave him another reason. I said that the Cause
had spread in the East through sacrifice and I felt if this same spirit could be demonstrated in the West, this spirit of renunciation which was all-powerful, that the Cause might begin to spread there."
"I know!" said the Master, His eyes full of love.
Hiding my face on His coat sleeve, I said, half laughing--laughing, of course, at myself: "I was not strong enough--was I?--to drink the cup of martyrdom. I was a failure as a martyr."
How the Master laughed!
"I know better now than to ask--for that cup myself. I shall wait now for God to give it to me. I shall wait till he finds me ready to drink it."
"Inshá'lláh. Perhaps in another way God will give you that cup to drink, and the capacity for it."
"I hope so." After a pause I continued. "The following Sunday he preached on 'Renunciation'. This was his text. He said he had just had a new vision of the power of renunciation. He said that 'when a soul did the great thing first it inspired others to follow in the path of sacrifice.' And from that time on his life did change. He flung caution to the winds and with the utmost courage, in the face of the strongest opposition from within his church, championed the cause of the poor, of labour against capital; not in a way to encourage class hatred, but to promote mutual understanding. In the pulpit he says such things as these: 'A great new Light is breaking upon earth. The earth is being enriched and prepared for the birth of a new humanity. And in the face of this light of Democracy, of universal sympathy, of the ever-fuller disclosure through science of the Will of God through the Laws of God, what are you to do with your miserable little creeds? While humanity marches rapidly forward
to the Great Brotherhood, we find the Church lagging behind sociologically, allying itself through fear with the aristocratic classes. While science is marching on, the Church lags behind intellectually. And what are the certain consequences of this? Death for the Church. Something new, something living is coming. We feel it in the air.'
"One Sunday, my Lord, he even went so far as to mention Thy Name. 'The Bishop,' he said, 'has asked me to preach today on Church unity, but I wish to consider this subject from the point of view of the disintegration of the Church. The Church, which, had it fulfilled the hope of Jesus, would have set the example of brotherhood to the world, has split into fragments, while outside it we see great Movements for the Brotherhood of Man, such as the Bahá'í Movement, centred around the Master in 'Akká. With this, though we may not agree with all it teaches, we must feel sympathy, since it is not trying to unite the souls on the basis of disputable facts, but on the basis of universal sympathy. For supposing the Church did unite, what then would we do with our brothers the Jews, our brothers the Muslims, our brothers the Hindus, and our brothers the atheists? Are these to be considered as outside our body? No! The day has come for the falling of all barriers: social, national, religious."'
"Good; very good," said the Master, who had been listening with keen attention. Then He closed His eyes, as He always does when He sends a message.
"Convey my greetings to him. Say: Miss Juliet has told me all about your preaching. What you have said lately is very good. It is exactly so.
"In the time of Jesus the Pharisees lit a lamp in opposition to the Light of Jesus. Only darkness resulted. But
the Lamp of the Teachings of Jesus afterward became a great flame. Then it became as a sun and brightened the whole world.
"Such teachings as the people of today have in their hands cannot stand against the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Soon the East and the West will be ablaze with these lights.
"In the lifetime of Jesus eleven disciples became illumined. See what happened afterward! The whole world became illumined. But in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh half a million souls became illumined. From this you can see what will be the result in the future.
"The Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh no one can deny. If one comes to know the reality of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh it is impossible to deny.
"Up to the present time you have been building an edifice on a weak ground. Now I hope your foundation will be a strong rock, that it may become an eternal foundation.
"In the time of Jesus thousands of priests laid a foundation, but their foundation came to naught. But the foundation laid by Peter, under the Bounty of Jesus, is everlasting--though Peter was but a fisherman. Then do you lay the same foundation Peter laid, that it may last forever!"
Joy flooded my soul as He spoke. When He had ended I knelt at His feet, I kissed the hem of His robe. Divinely He smiled at me.
"I know," I said "Whose Voice is calling him."
"Inshá'lláh, you will make him a believer."
"Then I have not loved and suffered in vain?"
"Inshá'lláh, through you," the Master repeated, "he will become a believer."
Just before dinner Elizabeth Stewart and Lilian Kappes
(on their way to Persia to teach in Dr Moody's school) arrived at the hotel. The Master, of course, took them down to dinner, placing them opposite Him at the table and calling me to sit at His side. Several nations were represented at that table: Persia, America, France and Russia--for a Russian believer had also just arrived. And the Master said: "To the refreshing water of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh come many and various birds from many lands and at these cooling streams slake their thirst. When the lamp is ignited the butterflies flutter around the light."
"May we," said Lilian Kappes, "be ready to singe our wings at this Flame."
"Bravo!" said the Master. "I am very much pleased with your answer."
In the evening the Master came to my door. Elizabeth and Lilian were in the room. I was off somewhere for a minute or two. He had in His hand three flowers. One spray with three blossoms He left for me. "This is for Juliet," He had said. Later He came back and brought me a chocolate which He put in my mouth with His own fingers, as a father might feed His little child. He often brought chocolates to me. Here is the spray from His hand. (I pressed it in my diary.)
On Monday, I went away.
Knowing that our whole party were His guests at the hotel and being in such a material condition that I worried about His pocketbook, I felt I must make some move to go. In 'Akká the Master Himself had always told us when to go, but being His guest in a very expensive hotel seemed to me a different situation. Edith had asked me to come to Vevey on Monday and stay overnight with her and I thought this might be a sign that my Heavenly Visit in Thonon was over. I was puzzled and didn't know what to do and decided to consult Laura. I met her by chance in the upstairs hall just outside the Master's door and at once plunged into the subject.
"Laura," I said, "the Master is under such heavy expense. Don't you think I ought to suggest leaving?" And Laura had barely finished replying, "Perhaps you should, Juliet," when the Master opened His door and came out.
"Chíh mígúyad?" (What did she say?) He asked.
Laura explained. And then--His answer fell like a blow, it was so curt and indifferent.
"Khaylí khúb." (Very well.) That was all.
But He said something later which, by mistake, was never translated to me. Edith was to spend Tuesday in Thonon and He said I must come back with her. Edith herself urged me to do so, but not knowing that the Master had invited me, I felt that I could not thrust myself on Him. I thought of several people who had come, unasked, to see Him at mealtime. I thought of the greedy little children selling violets and His gentle rebuke to them when they held out their hands for more francs: "Tell them that they have taken," and said to myself: I have taken too. So, though it desolated me to see Edith go without me, back to that Presence which was my Life, I wouldn't let myself be persuaded.
I sailed with Edith as far as Lausanne and there, in
Lausanne, made another fatal mistake. I bought my ticket for New York on a boat belonging to an independent line, which meant I couldn't change to any other line. I thought I had to do this as my money was running so low and this was the cheapest line and the first boat leaving Genoa.
Edith had asked me to stay with her one more night, so I went back to Vevey to wait for her. When she returned she said to me: "I have something to tell you, Juliet, that will nearly kill you, but you would rather know than not. The Master expected you today."
To return to Monday--when I went away.
"Now will you give Me the messages, Juliet?"
I had many and I gave them all. When I mentioned Marion deKay He said: "Give her My affectionate greeting. She must be educated for a teacher. She must be taken great care of and treated very well. Taken great care of," He repeated.
I spoke of dear Silvia Gannett: "She asked me to tell You, my Lord, of a dream she had lately in which a voice said to her: 'I want you to serve Me in London.' She felt sure that it was Your voice. But she never mentioned this dream to me till one day she came to see me and found me crying, with Your Tablet in my hand and Ahmad's letter saying that You would be in London at the Races' Congress. Then, when I explained why I was crying--that Mamma wouldn't let me travel alone--she told me the dream and that now she saw the meaning of it: she must go to London with me. But she could only stay there a very short time, much as she longed to wait till You came. She had to return home to get married."
The Master, at this, smiled so funnily, for Silvia is seventy-two! Then He said: "It," (her dream, of course, and her obedience) "is a sign that she will make progress and that her work in the Cause will be very good. Tell her it is just as though she had seen Me. Her journey is accepted as a visit. It will be just as though she had seen Me, just the same."
In my hand I held a letter from Nancy Sholl with a message in it for Him.
"Here is something interesting," I said. "Years ago I read a book by Miss Sholl. It was called The Law of Life, which she proved in her story to be sacrifice. The book was so spiritual that I longed to give Miss Sholl the Message, but when I tried to find her I heard that she lived in Ithaca. Then one day she walked into my studio with some people who wanted to sublet it--she had moved from Ithaca to New York--and we have been dear friends ever since. In this letter she sends You 'the loving greetings of a sincere seeker.'"
Smiling, the Master seized the letter. "Give her My most affectionate and loving greeting. Tell her I took her letter away from you."
He spoke some tender words to me. "I shall see you again," He concluded. "When the time comes I will write for you."
I realized suddenly that I was going to leave Him. A great wave of sorrow swept over me. I strained my eyes to His Face: and oh the blinding Glory there! His Face was a sun and Divine Love blazed from His eyes. It seemed to me I saw God.
"Always?" He breathed.
"Always, my Lord."
That look was the last. Mulk was called out and this left me alone with the Master for a moment. I sat at His
feet in silence, my eyes downcast, feeling throughout my whole being His holy calm and the peace of His Presence.
Then Laura knocked at the door and came in, followed by Hippolyte, and together they talked of my plans, and, while they were talking, the Master rose from His chair by the window and with His swift step left the room.
"If only I could be born again," he sobbed, "into any other family than mine! When I think that my own father has massacred so many Bahá'ís; that it was through my grandfather's orders that thousands of Bábís were slaughtered and the Báb Himself executed, I cannot endure the blood that flows in my veins. If only I could be born again!"
It was on Wednesday, after those two sweet days with Edith, that I sailed down the lake to Geneva. Oh Lake of Geneva! To me it is not earthly at all. Hemmed off from the world by mountains, ethereal in mist, hallowed by His Sacred Presence, it is like a vision descended from Heaven. I can scarcely think of it as permanent, but rather as a shining bit of the immortal world revealed for the time as His environment.
I have already told of that sail to Geneva: the docking
of the boat at Thonon, which seemed to me a sign that the Master was drawing me back to Him, since we had to cross the lake and go out of our course to dock there; how crushed I was when no one appeared at the landing to meet me; how desperate as the boat moved away from Thonon and I felt I had lost my last chance to be with my Lord again; my frantic desire to at least communicate with him driving me to call Hippolyte the minute I reached my hotel, and Hippolyte's breath-taking news: that the Master was coming the following night to Geneva and wished me to get in touch with Edith and ask her to join me there with Miss Hopkins.
Edith and Miss Hopkins arrived the next day a few hours earlier than the Master. Miss Hopkins is a very interesting girl: nun-like, really medieval. One thing she does beautifully is to illumine parchment cards, like the old missals. We had a happy hour together; then the two girls went off to rest and I to my balcony to pray.
Mount Blanc was rosy in the sunset. A diadem of lights encircled the lake. The mountains on the opposite shore--grizzled, almost barren, striped with whitish rock--made me think of Palestine.
While we were dining--Edith, Miss Hopkins, and I--at a table facing the window, we saw the Master's boat approaching. Edith and I rushed out, but were too late to meet Him on the pier. We met Him on the street, however, and that seemed so strange: to meet and be greeted by Him, on a European street. We walked with, or rather behind Him, to the Hotel de la Paix. His rooms, we found, were on the same floor as ours, the top floor.
The Master would not take the elevator, but walked up those four long flights of stairs; really, He floated up the stairs. That gliding ascent, majestic, of the most
astonishing ease, was almost like a spirit soaring. It made me think of what Rúhá Khánum said to me once in Haifa, that even His body was different from ours, "of a different fibre," she said.
The Master went straight to His room and Edith and I stood outside in the hall with the Persians. It is a beautiful hall, square and white with slender columns and an enormous well down the centre where the staircase curves to the ground floor. Almost at once the proprietor came up and there was a little trouble about the rooms, Hippolyte not being there to arrange and Mulk and the others not understanding French very well. Edith and I were just moving forward to translate for them when the Master opened His door and stepped out into the hall. His mere appearance settled the matter.
"Who is that?" the proprietor asked with a startled look, then agreed to everything we asked.
I can see the Master now pacing up and down that hall, His hands behind His back in a way He has, His step firm and royal. I can see the turbaned head, the calm, noble profile luminous against the white wall.
After this, the Master went with us into Edith's room and waited there till His dinner was ready, talking to us tenderly. Suddenly He turned to me. "Could you go to London, Juliet? Miss Rosenberg has written inviting you to stay with her."
My heart leapt! Go to London with Him! Then, after all, this was not the end, this added bounty in Geneva, this merciful bounty granted to me in place of the lost day in Thonon. But, how could I prolong my trip? I had almost no money left.
"My Lord," I said, "I should love above all things to go, but my steamer ticket is bought and I can't exchange
[Photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris]
it, as it is on an independent line. And in order to catch the boat I must leave Geneva tomorrow on the early train. But I could stay till nine o'clock and try to make some kind of change."
As I took my place at His feet I said: "Dr Hakim has told me You weren't served well tonight; that You have eaten almost nothing. You are hungry I know. Let us go out--Tamaddunu'l-Mulk and I--and bring You some fruit with our own hands."
He is always thinking for others and to see His appreciation of our slightest thought for Him, the warm happy love that beams from His eyes at such times, is unbearably touching. But He would not let us get anything.
"No, no," He said. "No thank you. I was beautifully served. There was chicken, and many other things to come. I was too tired to eat--that was all."
"What have you to ask, Juliet?"
"That I may always see Thy Face. To see it will protect me from temptation."
"You must always see it. There must be no temptation." Then He, Himself introduced my next subject! "I do not," He said, "want to make you angry"--at which I looked up at Him laughing--"I do not want to hurt you, Juliet. But I must tell you something."
I knew what was coming. I pressed His hand.
"Don't think I am going to ask you to marry Mr Remey. Even if you wished to do so now, I would not wish it. But about Dr Grant ..." Then in a marvellous way He analyzed Percy Grant's character and the nature, even the history of our attachment, taking my breath away by His perfect knowledge of the whole thing.
"But, my Lord, isn't it true that he has other qualities--for example, his courage and his force--that would make him a wonderful servant of the Cause?"
"Ah, that is another affair," said the Master. "I am thinking now of your future."
"Some men," He went on, "are like this. They do not wish to marry and they love the love of women, and should you let this continue, it will go on forever in the same way until in the end he leaves you. Besides, meantime you may fall into difficulty. It is often by just such a thing that a black line is drawn across a girl's character. Now when you return to New York, Juliet, you must end this. Either you must marry him or separate yourself from him, cut yourself entirely from him. Understand, I
do not wish to separate you. I wish you to marry him. But I want the present state of things to end.
"I am speaking to you in this way because I love you so much. I love you very much; therefore I say these things to you.
"If you should marry him it may be good for the Cause--you may give him the Message--or, it may not be good. I do not care about this. I am thinking of your happiness."
"Ask the Master," I said to Tamaddunu'l-Mulk, "to tell me His Will and whatever it is I will do it, for I love His Will. I love following it. I intended to speak of this tonight. I intended to say: I am ready now to put Dr Grant out of my life."
"No, no," answered the Master. "You must understand that I do not want to separate you. I want you to marry him. It is My wish that you marry him. When you go back can you not say to him: 'We must end this in one of two ways. If you love me, marry me. There is no obstacle. If not, I must cut myself from you.'"
"Oh my Lord," I said, hiding my face on His knee, "how could I say that to him? I should be ashamed to."
I had never refused the Master anything before, but I quailed at the thought of proposing to Percy Grant!
"She won't even speak to him."
"Have you no friend who can take this message?"
"No. And besides: oh my Lord, how could I force him?"
"But you are not a child. And you must think of your future. Many men have wished to marry you."
"But, my Lord, I have no desire to marry."
"But I want you to marry, if not Dr Grant, then some other. Otherwise, when you are older you will fall into great misery. You can paint now; you are young, but you must think of your future, my daughter." His fatherly tenderness touched me to the heart.
"But it would be very difficult to marry a man I didn't love."
"That is the way with everyone," He said.
"My Lord," I asked, "mightn't I stay away from him--stop going to his church, refuse his invitations, refuse to see him when he comes?"
"Perhaps," and He made a laughing comment on human nature. "But," returning to His first suggestions, (with anxiety, it seemed to me, for He glanced from side to side as though He, Himself, were looking for a messenger) "is there no one to take him this word: marriage or separation?"
"No, but if You wish, my Lord, I will do it myself."
"I leave that in your hands, only do something to make him realize ... See," He said, "how much I love you! I have come to Geneva to tell you this and have stayed up so late" (it was nearly midnight) "talk to you about it."
you are in His Presence nothing really matters except the eternal things.)
"Is there anything else you wish to ask, Juliet?"
"Only to say once more that I long to forever fix in my mind Thy Face. This will keep me firm and steadfast, desiring nothing but Thee."
"When your heart is perfectly pure and your love for Me increasing, then you shall see My Face."
"Come and knock at My door in the morning," He said.
"But I must leave so early. I must take the six-fifty train."
"Come whenever you are dressed. I shall be up."
I went to the Master alone. In His exquisite thoughtfulness He had left the door ajar. I knelt at His feet. A great flood of sorrow rose in me.
"Don't cry!" said His tender voice and I felt His delicate, vital fingers wiping the tears from my eyes. I felt my heart suddenly at peace, as though He had laid His Power upon it and checked that uprising storm of wild grief.
"Always?" He asked.
"Always!" After a moment I added in Persian: "I shall be with You always."
In English He replied, and none but the Comforter
Himself could speak in such a tone: "With Me--always."
Here in my cabin alone on this queer little ship I am fortifying myself for what lies before me in New York. I stay all day in my cabin, to avoid the people, and pray and write. To none of these people could I give the Message, nor anything else, in fact.
Always I seek the Master's Face. Sometimes He dawns on me in immortal glory and sometimes He smiles at me. Only through service, only through prayer, only through obedience shall I climb to His Presence and live in it "always".
I went to Thonon, not to find Him there, but to find Him afterwards. I have not yet found Him, except for brief moments. In the anguish before me, in the deprivation, in the "Heaven of Poverty": there shall I find Him.
I have been curiously stripped on this journey. Through the chivalry of an idealist who offered to help me at the customs, I lost my trunk. In Naples I lost my fountain pen; somewhere, my prayer book--even my prayer book! I have just the clothes on my back, nothing else. This diary, with my book of Tablets (the Master's Tablets to me) and the 'Akká diary, I have been carrying in a little bag, and thank God these are safe.
There is the dinner bell. I must go and sit with these funny people, who ply their toothpicks so vigorously (which makes me horribly sick) and accuse me of "seeing angels".
"I no want you see angels," said a fiery musician to
me yesterday. "I want you" (pounding his chest) "to see me."
So I fly to my cabin and bolt my door.
8 September 1911
My struggle began today. Peace went. Standing at the bow of the boat just now, the salt wind in my face, the sea rough with whitecaps, I realized many things.
I have been more anxious to lead Percy Grant to the Kingdom than to be led there myself. I have counted more on eternal union with him than on eternal union with God. I have never been able to disentangle my love for the Cause from my love for him, or from my hopes and desires for him and myself--my future with him.
Now I must cut these two loves apart. But how?
15 September 1911. Morning.
A captive, fettered by mine own desire,
With tender fingers quickening in their touch,
Gently He wiped away mine unshed tears.
"O thou," He breathed, "who lovest much,
Await the sure unfolding of the years,
The vision purified
Through hope denied."
The years unfolded, while a heavenly rain
Of tears washed ever clearer my dim sight.
Suppliant I knelt again,
Unfettered now, before the Eternal Light.
"Accept the heart I bring
To Thee, O King!"
I lift mine eyes to His Divinity,
Eyes streaming now with tears of love alone.
God! What is this I see?
For veils of night and veils of Light are gone,
In flaming Day.
Haloed with rays, encircled as with fire,
The clouds of earth rolled back, in ambient space,
Eyes as two stars of living fire,
Clearly I see the Christ--the Eternal Face--
The Father in the Son,
The One--the ONE!
15 September 1911
"Always for Me, always for Me!"
This last little one I wrote after I left 'Akká, in 1909:
O King of Kings, O King of Kings!
My heart it is Thy quivering lyre.
Thy vital fingers sweep its strings,
Sweep its strings, sweep its strings.
Its strings are set afire, my Lord,
Its strings are set afire!
Oh kindled by divine desire,
For Thee it sings, for Thee it sings,
Forevermore for Thee it sings,
This heart that is Thy lyre, my Lord,
This heart that is thy lyre!
15 September 1911
I am approaching New York--and my ordeal. But, thank God, I have been gathering strength. This week has been one of such frightful storm that I haven't been able to write a word. But, through the storm, the more brightly shone His Face.
2 October 1911
I love this dear little house. It is very simple and old-fashioned in an old-fashioned street. It looks like the homes of my childhood, only more simple and therefore more lovely. And yet, how it complicates the problem with which I have returned to live in it, since it is almost opposite the house of Percy Grant. Strange, to be moved so close to him by something outside my own
will at this of all moments, when I must separate myself from him. I say "outside my own will," for I didn't choose this house; it came as the result of prayer. We tried for weeks and weeks and couldn't find a house in a neighbourhood to suit Mamma. Then one morning I got on my knees and prayed and, just a little later in the morning, Marjorie and I, on our way to Greenwich Village, saw the sign "For Rent" on 48 West Tenth Street and Mamma approved of this neighbourhood!
23 November 1911
O Handmaiden of God!
The news of your trouble and difficulty on the way caused Us great sorrows. In truth the trouble was very hard to bear. I hope you may receive a great reward for it. The cause of this trouble and difficulty was that for the love of seeing that unkind person you made great haste to go.
Remember My advices. Find a friend whose heart is yours, but not one who has a thousand hearts (affections). Think of God's Will, because God is the most kind.
Upon you be the Glory of God.
(signed) Abdul Baha Abbas
[P.S.] I send you a small sum of money.
I shall never forget the awful moment when I read this Tablet. "For the love of seeing that unkind person you made great haste to go."(!) Every morning after that I awoke with these words ringing in my ears: "You made great haste to go."
My first thought was: "How can it be true?" So unconscious are we of our own real condition. Then I looked deep into my heart. Yes, it was true. I was always saying to myself in Thonon: "When I return to New York I will tell Percy this, I will tell him that." I looked forward to that return with excitement for it meant beginning a new life in a new home opposite his. I started back happily, to be overtaken at Geneva by the Master and His stern command: "Marry Dr Grant, or leave him. Cut yourself entirely from him."
Oh that pause at Geneva! I can see the Master now, the unexpected Visitor, leading Edith and me up those four flights of stairs to the Upper Chamber. I can see Him floating before us, the Being from worlds above Who has lit upon earth for a brief time.
"You made great haste to go." How blind I have been and how I have lost through my blindness. But for my stubborn attachment I might have spent weeks in Europe with Him, in Paris and London. For the "small sum of money" was the most pointed of signs that I could easily have given up my passage on "the independent line." It was $120: exactly the cost of the ticket.
I had not written to the Master of my "difficulties" on the way. Only to Mulk had I mentioned these trifles--the seven days of storm, the temporary loss of my trunk--for I got it again after nine weeks. Yet in the midst of His great pressure of work He had hastened to write me, to express His tender sympathy for my little inconveniences, to open my eyes to their real cause, my so persistent attachment--and, at this insecure moment, as I begin my "new life" opposite the house of Percy Grant--to repeat His warning at Geneva. How vigilant is God's watchfulness over His least creature!