Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 116

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 116

writing the story. Whenever Mr. Stockton came into the office Bok pumped him dry as to his experiences with the story, such as when, at a dinner party, his hostess served an ice-cream lady and a tiger to the author, and the whole company watched which he chose.

“And which did you choose?” asked the advertising director.

Et tu, Brute?” Stockton smilingly replied. “Well, I’ll tell you. I asked the butler to bring me another spoon, and then, with a spoon in each hand, I attacked both the lady and the tiger at the same time.”

Once, when Stockton was going to Boston by the night boat, every room was taken. The ticket agent recognized the author, and promised to get him a desirable room if the author would tell which he had had in mind, the lady or the tiger.

“Produce the room,” answered Stockton.

The man did. Stockton paid for it, and then said: “To tell you the truth, my friend, I don’t know.”

And that was the truth, as Mr. Stockton confessed to his friends. The idea of the story had fascinated him; when he began it he purposed to give it a definite ending. But when he reached the end he didn’t know himself which to produce out of the open door, the lady or the tiger, “and so,” he used to explain, “I made up my mind to leave it hanging in the air.”

To the present generation of readers, all this reference to Stockton’s story may sound strange, but for months it was the most talked-of story of the time, and sold into large numbers.

One day while Mr. Stockton was in Bok’s office, A.

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