WILLIAM'S ROLE IN THE LAST DARSHAN
"He went personally to each hotel they would be staying at to ensure it was clean, making the management spray the beds for bedbugs and sterilize the towels, plates, glasses, and utensils...."
William's role in the Last Darshan cannot be underestimated. Not only was he responsible for organizing safe accommodation for the Westerners, but he also suddenly inherited 700 potential patients.
William actually had to provide medical treatment to one of the group members from Myrtle Beach. Brad Gunn, who had a bad case of diarrhoea. He had shifted hotels a couple of times and ended up staying at the Poona Club, where William was housed, and remembers the experience:
"Physically he was quite a large man, probably six feet tall or more and robust — not huge, but radiating a strong healthy physical appearance. He was wearing a topee, if I remember correctly, along with khaki shorts and a light cotton shirt...."
"He gave the impression of a cross between a retired former professional athlete and a compassionate parish priest. But the most memorable thing about him for me was his vocal delivery. He had a fairly high voice and a posh English accent, but when he was telling a story, as he would approach the punch line, his delivery would become softer and softer until you had to strain to hear what he was saying, and once he delivered the punch line he would laugh and laugh loudly. He gave off a wonderful eccentricity, which I'm sure Baba found to be just delightful. But unfortunately between the accent, his soft delivery and my feverish condition, I missed most of the punch lines!"
William gave Brad some pills and told him to drink plenty of water. "He said I'd either be dead or better in a day and a half and he was betting on me being better."
"As he had foretold, I was better in a day and a half, though incredibly weak," said Brad. "I had lost 19 pounds since arriving in India, mostly moisture I think, but at least the fever was gone and I no longer had the runs.
"I had missed a couple of days of programs at Guruprasad, though balanced against this was about 20 minutes of Dr. Donkin's caring ministrations. Well worth it in retrospect."
SLAVE OF LOVE, pp. 338-340
2012 © Robert Stanley Mossman