[“Waves” of visitors; Federation of Women’s Clubs; Unitarian Congregation]
Mahmud notes: “From morning until noon `Abdu'l-Bahá received successive waves of visitors, both friends and inquirers, in His private room. When the numbers grew too large, He went into the outer room and spoke to the visitors about unity, fellowship and the importance of overcoming hatred and enmity. . . . [no transcript of this talk, but Mahmud gives more details.] In the afternoon there were two public meetings at the LaSalle Hotel. One was for the Federation of Women's Clubs [see PUP 74–77] and the other for the Unitarian congregation. [See PUP 79–83, but no indication this talk was given to Unitarians.] `Abdu'l-Bahá's first talk was on education and the rights of women and in the latter He spoke about human powers and gave proofs of the existence of God. Both talks were so impressive, charming and attractive that all the friends from the East and West offered thanks and glorification to the Abhá Kingdom, with smiles on their faces that were like roses in bloom.
Back at the Plaza Hotel, `Abdu'l-Bahá responded to questions about the differences in capacities and talents among people . . . [and the] Question: `How should one associate with people of bad character?' [See Mahmud for Master’s responses] . . . Several learned men, scientists, engineers and government officials visited `Abdu'l-Bahá today.”
Of course, it would be nice to have a list of such visitors! And of all the friends making arrangements for all of this activity!
Allan Ward says that on May 2 `Abdu'l-Bahá “accepted an invitation to address a meeting of suffrage workers this evening at Hotel LaSalle. ‘I believe in suffrage for women, he said, ‘but no, it should not be striven for by window-smashing, and by what are called militant methods.’” (53) Before leaving for the suffrage meeting, He spoke to “successive waves” of people—some He saw individually and some in groups (the large parlor at His disposal could hold up to 150 people). Ward reports that the ballroom at the LaSalle was filled with more than a thousand women of the federated clubs, whom He addressed on the subject of equality. A second meeting “closely followed the first, for the Baha’i women had invited all of the women’s clubs’ representatives to a reception in `Abdu'l-Bahá’s honor in the same ballroom. Ten speakers praised Him, and then He spoke again.” [No mention of the Unitarians.]
Whatever the source, one gets the distinct impression that the story is too large to tell by any one individual. I miss Juliet's impassioned entries. Her thread and that of Agnes and others will be picked up later when He returns to to the East coast. But there are a few more days in Chicago. . . .