Stories about 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Agnes: April 21 – An example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s busy daily itinerary

Agnes Parsons' Diary
April 21, 1912
Washington, DC

On Sunday morning (April 21, 1912) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had interviews with Mrs. Seaton, Mrs. [Florence Fleming] Noyes, and others. I was present with Mrs. Noyes. She asked many interesting questions concerning Rhythm, to which the answers were most instructive. Between half past nine and ten ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent with Jeffrey[Agnes Parsons’ son] looking at his toys, books, and pictures and afterwards they went on the roof garden together.

At eleven o’clock ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in company with some of the Persians of His party, walked to Studio Hall on Connecticut Avenue, where He gave a beautiful address, after which He came down the aisle greeting the people. The children were brought forward and put into His arms. The Blessing, given in Persian, was not translated. I took Jeffrey Boy to the service with me and he remained until after the address was made. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Dr. Fareed and Dr. Getsinger drove for an hour after the meeting, then went to Mrs. Hemmick’s to luncheon. Mrs. Seth Ackley and Mr. Underwood were present.

I was eager for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to see Mrs. Noyes dance, in order that He might say whether, from the ethical standpoint, there was any value in her work. Before leaving in the morning, He very indulgently promised Mrs. Noyes to see her dance at 3:00 o’clock adding, as though He were much amused: “I’ve done almost everything, but I’ve never watched dancing.” After seeing Mrs. Noyes dance, He said it was very good and blessed her work.

At 4 o’clock, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Dr. Fareed, and I went to the Universalist Church, of which Dr. John Van Schaick is pastor. We found him standing on the pavement waiting to receive ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whom he conducted through a side door to the chancel. In Dr. Van Schaick’s preliminary remarks he said that because of the many engagements of this great Teacher of the East, the order of the service would be changed that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would first address the audience and then leave.

Dr. Van Schaick then made an address of welcome to which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá responded, then a beautiful address — on the theme of Unity, which was quickly and most satisfactorily interpreted by Dr. Fareed [see The Promulgation of Universal Peace] then followed a prayer in Persian by the Master.[see Mahmud’s Diary] When I supposed that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be free to leave and go home for a little rest, Dr. Van Schaick made such a strong appeal from the people to shake hands that the request was granted so that it was quite a long time before we were able to return.

But instead of finding an opportunity for a quiet rest, we found a group of people awaiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the little room: Mirza Ali Kuli Khan, Mme. Khan and the two older children, Mrs. [Alice] Breed and a young Secretary of the Persian Legation: Mrs. Severance and Mrs. [Anne] Lane: also Mrs. Lane’s brother, who had been on the ship with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: a friendship having sprung up because of the children’s fondness for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He (Mrs. Lane’s brother) was quite surprised when he reached Washington to find that his sister had become interested in the Bahá’í Teachings.

Tea was served in the large room, a circle being formed, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as it were, at the head of the circle. After this group left, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returned to the little room, where Dr. Fareed read to Him for half an hour: after this He had an interview with Mr. [Edward Alfred] Innes and Mr. Crane that had been previously arranged. I came upstairs and do not know the later happenings.