Friday, 9 June 2017

Swami Vivekananda - Mary C. Funke 1

SUCH a beautiful spot! There is a large class-room and a kitchen on the ground floor and a number of bedrooms on the second floor. The Swami has a private suite with a separate entrance by an outside stairway. There is a small veranda attached to his room to which he invites us every evening. The view is lovely, as we are higher up than any of the other cottages. We gaze over the tree tops and for miles the beautiful St. Lawrence River winds its way.

We are deeply touched by the very cordial reception given to us who were strangers. Even the Swami had never met us personally, although we had attended all his lectures given in Detroit during the winter of 1894. The joy of it to be so sweetly received by him!

We were nearly frightened to death when we finally reached the cottage, for neither the Swami nor his followers at Thousand Island Park had the remotest idea of our existence and it seemed rather an impertinent thing for us to do, to travel seven hundred miles, follow him up, as it were, and ask him to accept us. But he did accept us — he did — the Blessed One!

It was a dark rainy night, but we could not wait. Every moment was precious, and our imagination was stirred up to the nth degree. We did not know a soul in the place, but finally we hit upon the plan of making inquiries at the various shops and thus find out where Miss Dutcher lived. At one place we were told that there was a cottage occupied by a Miss Dutcher and that a "foreign looking man who dressed queerly" was staying there.

Then we knew our quest was ended, and we found a man with a lantern who went ahead of us.

Up, up the wet and slippery path! It seemed as if we were taking one step up and two back. it was so slippery. The first thing we heard when we reached the house was the rich, beautiful voice of the Swami who was talking to those who had gathered on his porch. Our heartbeats could have been heard, I truly believe. His hostess asked him to come downstairs to see us as "two ladies from Detroit", and he greeted us so sweetly! It was like a benediction. "I like Detroit." he said, "I have many friends there, isn't it?" And what do you think? Instead of our slaying at a hotel or boarding house, as we had expected, those dear people insisted upon our becoming members of the household. Our heart? sang paeans of praise.


To be continued.... (Memoirs of Mary C. Funke)