Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 225



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

Page 225

or the Crimean nurse. They were plainly too much for him, and he had to acknowledge his defeat. The experience was good for him; he did not realize this at the time, nor did he enjoy the sensation of not getting what he wanted. Nevertheless, a reverse or two was due. Not that his success was having any undesirable effect upon him; his Dutch common sense saved him from any such calamity. But at thirty years of age it is not good for any one, no matter how well balanced, to have things come his way too fast and too consistently. And here were breaks. He could not have everything he wanted, and it was just as well that he should find that out.

In his next quest he found himself again opposed by his London friends. Unable to secure a new Alice in Wonderland for his child readers, he determined to give them Kate Greenaway. But here he had selected another recluse. Everybody discouraged him. The artist never saw visitors, he was told, and she particularly shunned editors and publishers. Her own publishers confessed that Miss Greenaway was inaccessible to them. “We conduct all our business with her by correspondence. I have never seen her personally myself,” said a member of the firm.

Bok inwardly decided that two failures in two days were sufficient, and he made up his mind that there should not be a third. He took a bus for the long ride to Hampstead Heath, where the illustrator lived, and finally stood before a picturesque Queen Anne house that one would have recognized at once, with its lower story of red brick, its upper part covered with red tiles, its windows of every size and shape, as the inspiration


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