November 2, 2013

Visiting the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. – an example of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s thoroughness

During our dinner at 7:30 [on April 21, 1912] ‘Abdu’l-Baha' sat and talked with us. Mr. Parsons [Agnes Parsons’ husband] suggested going one evening to the Library of Congress to see it lighted, but never dreamed that ‘Abdu’l-Baha would wish to add another activity to this already full day. But ‘Abdu’l-Baha said "Let us go tonight."

We first went up on the elevator to the rotunda looking down on the reading room. Two of the bronze figures were examined, when Mr. Parsons turned to conduct the party to another part of the Library. When it was told to ‘Abdu’l-Baha that Mr. Parsons would like to show Him over some other part of the building, He replied, "When one undertakes to see a thing one should see it," and continued around the rotunda until He had looked carefully at and asked the name of each bronze figure. After doing this part of the Library, we went with Mr. Parsons to his Division and Abdu’l-Baha began to see it as thoroughly as He had examined the figures.

Mr. Parsons turned to me and said: If we go over this Division so thoroughly the lights will be turned off before we shall have finished. Just at this moment, Mr. [Bernard R.] Greene, the Superintendent of the building appeared, met ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and gave the order that the lights were to be left on and no doors were to be locked for the present. Thus there was time to show ‘Abdu’l-Baha the stacks, some of the machinery for moving books and also some Turkish books. And so ‘Abdu’l-Baha had the opportunity of giving us a lesson in thoroughness.

On our return home ‘Abdu’l-Baha had His evening meal and He soon went to His room, but who knows the hour this night when He ceased to pray for His children and allowed himself the so much needed rest! 
(Agnes Parsons, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America, The Diary of Agnes Parson’)