Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 188

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


Page 188

tried every conceivable trick: had walked on the stage in one of Wilson’s scenes; had started a quarrel with an usher in the audience—everything that ingenuity could conceive he had practised on his friend. Bok had known this penchant of Field’s, and when he insisted on taking the bag of oranges into the theatre, Field’s purpose was evident!

One day Bok received a wire from Field: “City of New Orleans purposing give me largest public reception on sixth ever given an author. Event of unusual quality. Mayor and city officials peculiarly desirous of having you introduce me to vast audience they propose to have. Hate to ask you to travel so far, but would be great favor to me. Wire answer.” Bok wired back his willingness to travel to New Orleans and oblige his friend. It occurred to Bok, however, to write to a friend in New Orleans and ask the particulars. Of course, there was never any thought of Field going to New Orleans or of any reception. Bok waited for further advices, and a long letter followed from Field giving him a glowing picture of the reception planned. Bok sent a message to his New Orleans friend to be telegraphed from New Orleans on the sixth: “Find whole thing to be a fake. Nice job to put over on me. Bok.” Field was overjoyed at the apparent success of his joke and gleefully told his Chicago friends all about it—until he found out that the joke had been on him. “Durned dirty, I call it,” he wrote Bok.

It was a lively friendship that Eugene Field gave to Edward Bok, full of anxieties and of continuous forebodings, but it was worth all that it cost in mental perturbation.

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