Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 75

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


Page 75

“And what business is that?” asked the financier.

“The publishing of books,” replied the boy.

“You are making a great mistake,” answered the little man, fixing his keen gray eyes on the boy. “Books are a luxury. The public spends its largest money on necessities: on what it can’t do without. It must telegraph; it need not read. It can read in libraries. A promising boy such as you are, with his life before him, should choose the right sort of business, not the wrong one.”

But, as facts proved, the “little wizard of Wall Street” was wrong in his prediction; Edward Bok was not choosing the wrong business.

Years afterward when Edward was cruising up the Hudson with a yachting party one Saturday afternoon, the sight of Jay Gould’s mansion, upon approaching Irvington, awakened the desire of the women on board to see his wonderful orchid collection. Edward explained his previous association with the financier and offered to recall himself to him, if the party wished to take the chance of recognition. A note was written to Mr. Gould, and sent ashore, and the answer came back that they were welcome to visit the orchid houses. Jay Gould, in person, received the party, and, placing it under the personal conduct of his gardener, turned to Edward and, indicating a bench, said: “Come and sit down here with me.”

“Well,” said the financier, who was in his domestic mood, quite different from his Wall Street aspect, “I see in the papers that you seem to be making your way in the publishing business.”

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