Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 43



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

Page 43

more requests for his autograph. At each one he reached into a drawer in his desk, took a card, and wrote his name on it.

“There are a good many of these every day,” said Longfellow, “but I always like to do this little favor. It is so little to do, to write your name on a card; and if I didn’t do it some boy or girl might be looking, day by day, for the postman and be disappointed. I only wish I could write my name better for them. You see how I break my letters? That’s because I never took pains with my writing when I was a boy. I don’t think I should get a high mark for penmanship if I were at school, do you?”

“I see you get letters from Europe,” said the boy, as Longfellow opened an envelope with a foreign stamp on it.

“Yes, from all over the world,” said the poet. Then, looking at the boy quickly, he said: “Do you collect postage-stamps?”

Edward said he did.

“Well, I have some right here, then,” and going to a drawer in a desk he took out a bundle of letters, and cut out the postage-stamps and gave them to the boy.

“There’s one from the Netherlands. There’s where I was born,” Edward ventured to say.

“In the Netherlands? Then you are a real Dutchman. Well! Well!” he said, laying down his pen. “Can you read Dutch?”

The boy said he could.

“Then,” said the poet, “you are just the boy I am looking for.” And going to a bookcase behind him he



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