May Bolles Maxwell was one of the first group of pilgrims from the West who, in 1898-99, visited ‘Abdu’l-Baha while He was still a prisoner in ‘Akka. Below is a segment from her memoir:
We sailed from Marseilles on February 9th, 1898, on board the S.S. Carthage bound for Bombay and arrived in Port Said on February 13th. We were met on board by Ahmad Yazdi and Nurullah Effendi. They did everything for us, got us rooms at the hotel, attended to our baggage, and during the time we were there came to us almost every hour of the day and evening, inviting us to their homes, taking us to drive, and indeed showing us a love and kindness such as we had never seen before. At the time we could not understand the spirit which animated them, but afterwards we knew that we were dead and they were living and were quickened with the love of God.
On the afternoon of our arrival Nurullah Effendi called for us and drove us to his house, where we met his dear wife and daughters with the same radiant faces and wonderful love that we had seen in our two brothers, and there for the first time we beheld the face of our beloved Master. I could not remove my eyes from this picture, and these friends gave us each a copy and a lock of hair of the Blessed Perfection. Then we were entertained with tea and many sweet cakes, and when we left, although not a word had been spoken except through an occasional interpretation of our brother, we were united in an indissoluble bond of love, and we felt that no language could have been more eloquent than that silence in which our hearts alone had spoken.