Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 139



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

Page 139

shoulder of the English visitor and caught the eye of the smiling man at the desk.

Bok saw the little comedy, realized at once that he had discovered the author of The Breadwinners, and stated to the publisher that he intended to use the incident in his literary letter. But it proved to be one of those heart-rending instances of a delicious morsel of news that must be withheld from the journalist’s use. The publisher acknowledged that Bok had happened upon the true authorship, but placed him upon his honor to make no use of the incident. And Bok learned again the vital journalistic lesson that there are a great many things in the world that the journalist knows and yet cannot write about. He would have been years in advance of the announcement finally made that John Hay wrote the novel.

At another time, while waiting, Bok had an experience which, while interesting, was saddening instead of amusing. He was sitting in Mark Twain’s sitting-room in his home in Hartford waiting for the humorist to return from a walk. Suddenly sounds of devotional singing came in through the open window from the direction of the outer conservatory. The singing was low, yet the sad tremor in the voice seemed to give it special carrying power.

“You have quite a devotional servant,” Bok said to a maid who was dusting the room.

“Oh, that is not a servant who is singing, sir,” was the answer. “You can step to this window and see for yourself.”

Bok did so, and there, sitting alone on one of the



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