Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 45



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

Page 45

“Ye-es,” said the poet slowly. “Yes, yes,” he added quickly. “It is, my boy, a very great compliment.”

“Ah,” he said, rousing himself, as a maid appeared, “that means luncheon, or rather,” he added, “it means dinner, for we have dinner in the old New England fashion, in the middle of the day. I am all alone today, and you must keep me company; will you? Then afterward we’ll go and take a walk, and I’ll show you Cambridge. It is such a beautiful old town, even more beautiful, I sometimes think, when the leaves are off the trees.

“Come,” he said, “I’ll take you up-stairs, and you can wash your hands in the room where George Washington slept. And comb your hair, too, if you want to,” he added; “only it isn’t the same comb that he used.”

To the boyish mind it was an historic breaking of bread, that midday meal with Longfellow.

“Can you say grace in Dutch?” he asked, as they sat down; and the boy did.

“Well,” the poet declared, “I never expected to hear that at my table. I like the sound of it.”

Then while the boy told all that he knew about the Netherlands, the poet told the boy all about his poems. Edward said he liked “Hiawatha.”

“So do I,” he said. “But I think I like ‘Evangeline’ better. Still,” he added, “neither one is as good as it should be. But those are the things you see afterward so much better than you do at the time.”

It was a great event for Edward when, with the poet nodding and smiling to every boy and man he met, and lifting his hat to every woman and little girl, he walked



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