Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 140

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


Page 140

rustic benches in the flower-house, was a small, elderly woman. Keeping time with the first finger of her right hand, as if with a baton, she was slightly swaying her frail body as she sang, softly yet sweetly, Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” and Sarah Flower Adams’s “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”

But the singer was not a servant. It was Harriet Beecher Stowe!

On another visit to Hartford, shortly afterward, Bok was just turning into Forrest Street when a little old woman came shambling along toward him, unconscious, apparently, of people or surroundings. In her hand she carried a small tree-switch. Bok did not notice her until just as he had passed her he heard her calling to him: “Young man, young man.” Bok retraced his steps, and then the old lady said: “Young man, you have been leaning against something white,” and taking her tree-switch she whipped some wall dust from the sleeve of Bok’s coat. It was not until that moment that Bok recognized in his self-appointed “brush” no less a personage than Harriet Beecher Stowe.

“This is Mrs. Stowe, is it not?” he asked, after tendering his thanks to her.

Those blue eyes looked strangely into his as she answered:

“That is my name, young man. I live on this street. Are you going to have me arrested for stopping you?” with which she gathered up her skirts and quickly ran away, looking furtively over her shoulder at the amazed young man, sorrowfully watching the running figure!

Speaking of Mrs. Stowe brings to mind an unscrupulous

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