Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 150

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


Page 150

they’re all like this. I never smoke a new corncob pipe. A new pipe irritates the throat. No corncob pipe is fit for anything until it has been used at least a fortnight.”

“How do you break in a pipe, then?” asked Bok.

“That’s the trick,” answered Mark Twain. “I get a cheap man—a man who doesn’t amount to much, anyhow: who would be as well, or better, dead—and pay him a dollar to break in the pipe for me. I get him to smoke the pipe for a couple of weeks, then put in a new stem, and continue operations as long as the pipe holds together.”

Bok’s newspaper syndicate work had brought him into contact with Fanny Davenport, then at the zenith of her career as an actress. Miss Davenport, or Mrs. Melbourne McDowell as she was in private life, had never written for print; but Bok, seeing that she had something to say about her art and the ability to say it, induced her to write for the newspapers through his syndicate. The actress was overjoyed to have revealed to her a hitherto unsuspected gift; Bok published her articles successfully, and gave her a publicity that her press agent had never dreamed of. Miss Davenport became interested in the young publisher, and after watching the methods which he employed in successfully publishing her writings, decided to try to obtain his services as her assistant manager. She broached the subject, offered him a five years’ contract for forty weeks’ service, with a minimum of fifteen weeks each year to spend in or near New York, at a salary, for the first year, of three thousand dollars, increasing

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