Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 87

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


Page 87

that might unconsciously wound, and the manliness of instant recognition of the error. Swayed by an occasion, or by the responsiveness of an audience, Mr. Beecher would sometimes say something which was not meant as it sounded. One evening, at a great political meeting at Cooper Union, Mr. Beecher was at his brightest and wittiest. In the course of his remarks he had occasion to refer to ex-President Hayes; some one in the audience called out: “He was a softy!”

“No,” was Mr. Beecher’s quick response. “The country needed a poultice at that time, and got it.”

“He’s dead now, anyhow,” responded the voice.

“Not dead, my friend: he only sleepeth.”

It convulsed the audience, of course, and the reporters took it down in their books.

After the meeting Edward drove home with Mr. Beecher. After a while he asked: “Well, how do you think it went?”

Edward replied he thought it went very well, except that he did not like the reference to ex-President Hayes.

“What reference? What did I say?”

Edward repeated it.

“Did I say that?” he asked. Edward looked at him. Mr. Beecher’s face was tense. After a few moments he said: “That’s generally the way with extemporaneous remarks: they are always dangerous. The best impromptu speeches and remarks are the carefully prepared kind,” he added.

Edward told him he regretted the reference because he knew that General Hayes would read it in the New York papers, and he would be nonplussed to understand

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