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At Byfleet






On the afternoon of September 9th, a number of working women of the
Passmore Edwards' Settlement, who were spending their holidays with Miss
Schepel and Miss Buckton at Vanners, in Byfleet, a village some twenty
miles out of London, had the great privilege of meeting 'Abdu'l-Baha. They
wrote a short record of his sayings to keep for themselves. The following
is an extract:--

We gathered round him in a circle, and he made us sit beside him in the
window seat. One of the members, who was ill, had a specially beautiful
greeting from him. 'Abdu'l-Baha began by saying, as he seated himself:
Are you happy? and our faces must have shown him that we were. He then
said: I love you all, you are the children of the Kingdom, and you are
accepted of God. Though you may be poor here, you are rich in the
treasures of the Kingdom. I am the Servant of the poor. Remember how His
Holiness Jesus said: 'Blessed are the poor!' If all the queens of the
earth were gathered here, I could not be more glad!

'Abdu'l-Baha knew that we had a treasury box from which we try to help
people less fortunate than ourselves. Presently he rose, and said: You
are dear to me. I want to do something for you! I cannot cook for you (he
had previously seen us busy in the kitchen) but here is something for your
fund. He went round the circle to each, with a beautiful smile, shaking
hands with all, and giving the Baha'i greeting: Allah'u'Abha!

Later on he walked in the village, and many poor children came to him, and
mothers with sick babies and men out of work. He spoke to them all,
through an interpreter. At tea-time other friends joined us. 'Abdu'l-Baha
liked the cottage garden at Vanners, the little orchard and the roses. He
said: This is like a Persian garden. The air is very pure.

On leaving for London he presented every one with a purple heartsease from
the garden, and said again and again: Good-bye in English.

On the 28th September, 'Abdu'l-Baha again visited Vanners, the little farm
house on the old royal manor that dates back to the time of Edward II. He
motored down from London and stayed over night, returning on the evening
of the second day.

'Abdu'l-Baha was much struck during the drive by two detachments of Boy
Scouts tramping the road. When told of the Scouts' motto, Be Prepared,
and that an act of kindness each day is one of their laws and that some of
these boys had put out a fire and assisted at a recent railway accident,
he said. This makes me very happy.

Arriving at Vanners, he found a large, strangely mixed crowd, assembled
about the gate to welcome him, from the quite poor to the wealthy who had
motored over from their country places. A great number followed him and as
many as could do so pressed into the garden and sat down around him. The
silence was most impressive. The same attention and eagerness to hear was
noticed among the people each time 'Abdu'l-Baha appeared in the village.

After expressing his joy at being with them, he began to speak to the
little group in answer to a question about the elaborate civilization of
the West.





Next: The Captivity Of Man

Previous: The Visit To Bristol



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