Stories about 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Juliet: May 21 – How tenderly and affectionately the Master received His guests

The Diary of Juliet Thompson
May 21, 1912
New York, NY

On 21 May, Mrs. Tatum had a reception for the Master. The people who were there were of the fashionable world, with a sprinkling of artists and writers. Mrs. Sheridan was pouring tea.

Mrs Tatum’s house is beautiful. The impression you get is of space and light. A white staircase winds up through a very wide hall, from which, on each side, rooms open—living rooms, dining room, library. All these were soon crowded.

The first friend I caught sight of was Louis Potter[one of the best-known sculptors in America] came running up to me, exclaiming: “Oh august Juliet!” and attached himself at once to Lua and me. Suddenly, there was a stir among the people, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was in our midst. He walked over to a yellow couch which curved along the big half-moon of the bay window and sat down on it.

I think I must tell you how He looked there. His surroundings were all white and yellow. Sunlight streamed in. The shadows on His face were transparent; His profile, against the blue sky through the polished glass of the windowpane, outlined in light.

Come, Louis,” I said to Louis Potter, “let’s go to the Master.”

Louis had never seen Him before, but he skipped forward like a buoyant faun, his head tipped to one side, his hands outstretched.

Ah-h-h!” he said. It was a little cry from his soul, as though he were just coming home, and was so glad.

And the Master too said: “Ah-h-h!” His arms wide open, welcoming Louis home.

Percy Grant arrived. As soon as he appeared, big and imposing, in the room, the Master rose almost eagerly, smiling and holding out His hand.

Ah! Dr Grant!” He said.

They stood for what seemed to me minutes, their hands clasped, Percy, with beautiful deference, bowing his head, a gentle, almost tender look on his face. One of the Persians translated the Master’s greeting to him but spoke so low that I could not catch the words. Then Percy sat down on the curving window seat so that he faced the Master.

Soon there was another stir in the room. A small, rather plain middle-aged woman with the most astonishing eyes—very clear, very violet—stood in the doorway, almost timidly, and the Master at once sent Dr Farid to her to ask her to come and sit by Him. This was Sarah Graham Mulhall.

He spoke a few words to her and she rose and went out, returning after some time with a tray and a pot of tea and two cups on it. The tray was placed on a stool between the Master and Miss Mulhall and they drank their tea together….