Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Seldom have I seen one whose ...

"Seldom have I seen one whose appearance impressed me more. A tall strongly-built man holding himself straight as an arrow, with white turban and raiment, long black locks reaching almost to the shoulder, broad powerful forehead indicating a strong intellect combined with an unswerving will, eyes keen as a hawk’s, and strongly marked but pleasing features – such was my first impression of ‘Abbás Efendi, ‘the master’…as he, par excellence, is called by the [Bahá’ís]. Subsequent conversation with him served only to heighten the respect with which his appearance had from the first inspired me. One more eloquent of speech, more ready of argument, more apt of illustration, more intimately acquainted with the sacred books of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muhammadans, could, I should think, scarcely be found even among the eloquent, ready, and subtle race to which he belongs. These qualities, combined with a bearing at once majestic and genial, made me cease to wonder at the influence and esteem which he enjoyed even beyond the circle of his father’s followers. About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt."

[Edward G. Browne, ed. A Traveller’s Narrative, English translation and notes. (Cambridge University Press, 1891) Vol. II, xxxvi.]