Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 319



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

Page 319

illness and that he had been compelled to disappoint his audience a few days before, and then he stood helpless! In sheer desperation he looked at Mrs. Bok sitting in the stage box, who, divining her husband’s plight, motioned to the inside pocket of his coat. He put his hand there and pulled out a copy of his lecture which she had placed there! The whole tragic comedy had happened so quickly that the audience was absolutely unaware of what had occurred, and Bok went on and practically read his lecture. But it was not a successful evening for his audience or for himself, and the one was doubtless as glad when it was over as the other.

When he reached home, he was convinced that he had had enough of lecturing! He had to make a second short tour, however, for which he had contracted with another manager before embarking on the first. This tour took him to Indianapolis, and after the lecture, James Whitcomb Riley gave him a supper. There were some thirty men in the party; the affair was an exceedingly happy one; the happiest that Bok had attended. He said this to Riley on the way to the hotel.

“Usually,” said Bok, “men, for some reason or other, hold aloof from me on these lecture tours. They stand at a distance and eye me, and I see wonder on their faces rather than a desire to mix.”

“You’ve noticed that, then?” smilingly asked the poet.

“Yes, and I can’t quite get it. At home, my friends are men. Why should it be different in other cities?”

“I’ll tell you,” said Riley. “Five or six of the men you met to-night were loath to come. When I pinned



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