(by May Maxwell)
My dear Mother -- although broad and fine in all matters, had resented my constant work in the service of the Baha'i Cause, especially since my pilgrimage to the Prison of ‘Akka, and when ‘Abdu'l-Baha had refused, at her urgent appeal, to permit me to accompany her during the summer to Brittany, saying that I must on no account absent myself from Paris, my unhappy and indignant Mother had closed our home and left me alone.
Thus it was on a lovely summer day that, in response to a knock I found Mrs. M. and Thomas Breakwell standing at my door, and my attention was riveted on this youth; of medium height, slender, erect and graceful, with intense eyes and an indescribable charm. As they entered, Mrs. M. said smiling, "He was a stranger and she took him in." We spoke together for about half an hour of Theosophy -- his work, his projected trip through Europe, and I discerned a very rare person of high standing and culture, simple, natural, intensely real in his attitude toward life and his fellowmen. Although no word of the divine Revelation was spoken, and he assumed I was interested in Theosophy, yet he studied me with a searching gaze, and as they left, he asked me if he might see me the following day. He arrived the next morning in a strangely exalted mood, no veil of materiality covered this radiant soul – his eyes burned with a hidden fire, and looking at me earnestly he asked if I noticed anything strange about him. Seeing his condition I bade him be seated, and reassured him, saying he looked very happy.
December 13, 2009
Howard Ives in his spiritual autobiography "Portals to Freedom" divided his life sharply in two. The forty-six years before he met ‘Abdu'l-Baha he compares to the experience of a child of ten! He was horn in Brooklyn in 1867 and after the death of his father his family lived in Niagara Falls, N. Y., until Howard was seventeen and then returned again to Brooklyn. We hear of his spending many months on a ranch in Wyoming while overcoming a lung difficulty and are given a picture of a nineteen year old youth tending sheep on the mountain sides alone sometimes for weeks and writing poetry by the light of the moon. In 1902 he entered a Unitarian theological school at Meadville, Pennsylvania, and was graduated in 1905, 38 years of age. Of this period in his life his daughter Muriel Ives Barrow writes: