Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 198



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

Page 198

The editor decided to follow General Harrison’s discussion of American affairs by giving his readers a glimpse of foreign politics, and he fixed upon Mr. Gladstone as the one figure abroad to write for him. He sailed for England, visited Hawarden Castle, and proposed to Mr. Gladstone that he should write a series of twelve autobiographical articles which later could be expanded into a book.

Bok offered fifteen thousand dollars for the twelve articles—a goodly price in those days—and he saw that the idea and the terms attracted the English statesman. But he also saw that the statesman was not quite ready. He decided, therefore, to leave the matter with him, and keep the avenue of approach favorably open by inducing Mrs. Gladstone to write for him. Bok knew that Mrs. Gladstone had helped her husband in his literary work, that she was a woman who had lived a full-rounded life, and after a day’s visit and persuasion, with Mr. Gladstone as an amused looker-on, the editor closed a contract with Mrs. Gladstone for a series of reminiscent articles “From a Mother’s Life.”

Some time after Bok had sent the check to Mrs. Gladstone, he received a letter from Mr. Gladstone expressing the opinion that his wife must have written with a golden pen, considering the size of the honorarium. “But,” he added, “she is so impressed with this as the first money she has ever earned by her pen that she is reluctant to part with the check. The result is that she has not offered it for deposit, and has decided to frame it. Considering the condition of our exchequer, I have tried to explain to her, and so have my son and


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