On September 9th, Meredith spent the night with us in London. Present were my parents, my brother Ernest and also my sister May from Canada and her two children, Zilla and Jenny. At 9 A.M. on the 10th, Meredith and Herbert started for Marseilles on a non-stop express train. The train was full and they sat up all night. Tired, dirty, unshaven and hungry, they arrived at Marseilles at 6:10 A.M. on September 11th and went straight to the docks to await the arrival of the Rajputana. Because Mahatma Gandhi was on the same boat on his way to the Round Table Conference in London, numbers of distinguished people, many Indians and reporters, were present. At 7 A.M. the huge stern of the boat backed up to the docks. On the railings, clad in his homespun blanket, was Gandhi. When the boat docked crowds rushed on to photograph, interview and greet the Mahatma, Meredith went on the boat to find Baba while, for nearly three-quarters of an hour, my brother waited, hungry and tired, on the dock. He gives the following account :
"At 8 A.M. down the gangway came a slight figure with a salmon pink turban tied loosely around his head, an imitation chinchilla brown coat, a white flowing garment underneath and sandals. I felt very nervous, — perhaps I might have been a little disappointed. Baba did not speak, but only made that little sign with his fingers that Meredith explained meant 'good’." (This is Baba's almost universal sign on first meeting anybody.)
"I was shy and hurried away to help Rustom pass through the customs with the luggage. With Baba were Ali, holding the alphabet board and personal belongings of Baba. Chanji,* rather short-sighted. with spectacles, was worried over some very heavy bags that contained his secretarial papers. Rustom was very tall, practical, energetic and confident.
"We motored to the Hotel Geneva at 8:30 A.M., because Baba, in order to avoid possible contact with Gandhi, did not wish to travel in the boat train to London. There we sat in the restaurant and had a rather embarrassing meal of coffee and rolls. After, we all sat in a bedroom on the upper floor and I first saw Baba spell out his words on the alphabet board; Chanji interpreted. He told me that Meredith was placed in charge of his work in the West, and therefore I should work under Meredith's instructions."
I think my brother was a little disappointed. While he was very attached to Meredith and at this period grateful to him for having introduced him to Baba, still he had meditated and thought about Baba during the last two months, and in his heart really wished to follow Baba directly.