Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 149

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


Page 149

glad to publish the novel, and was ready to execute and send a contract to the author if the firm knew in whose name the agreement should be made. Then came the first intimation of the identity of the author: the friend wrote that if the publishers would look in the right-hand corner of the first page of the manuscript they would find there the author’s name. Search finally revealed an asterisk. The author of the novel (Valentino) was William Waldorf Astor.

Although the Scribners did not publish Mark Twain’s books, the humorist was a frequent visitor to the retail store, and occasionally he would wander back to the publishing department located at the rear of the store, which was then at 743 Broadway.

Smoking was not permitted in the Scribner offices, and, of course, Mark Twain was always smoking. He generally smoked a granulated tobacco which he kept in a long check bag made of silk and rubber. When he sauntered to the back of the Scribner store, he would generally knock the residue from the bowl of the pipe, take out the stem, place it in his vest pocket, like a pencil, and drop the bowl into the bag containing the granulated tobacco. When he wanted to smoke again (which was usually five minutes later) he would fish out the bowl, now automatically filled with tobacco, insert the stem, and strike a light. One afternoon as he wandered into Bok’s office, he was just putting his pipe away. The pipe, of the corncob variety, was very aged and black. Bok asked him whether it was the only pipe he had.

“Oh, no,” Mark answered, “I have several. But

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