Again Bok turned
Again Bok turned to the President, and explained to him that, for some
reason or other, the way seemed to point to him to write the articles
himself. By that time President Harrison had decided that he would not
succeed himself. Accordingly he entered into an agreement with the
editor to begin to write the articles immediately upon his retirement
from office. And the day after Inauguration Day every newspaper
contained an Associated Press despatch announcing the former President's
contract with The Ladies' Home Journal.
Shortly afterward, Benjamin Harrison's articles on "This Country of
Ours" successfully appeared in the magazine.
During Bok's negotiations with President Harrison in connection with his
series of articles, he was called to the White House for a conference.
It was midsummer. Mrs. Harrison was away at the seashore, and the
President was taking advantage of her absence by working far into the
The President, his secretary, and Bok sat down to dinner.
The Marine Band was giving its weekly concert on the green, and after
dinner the President suggested that Bok and he adjourn to the "back lot"
and enjoy the music.
"You have a coat?" asked the President.
"No, thank you," Bok answered. "I don't need one."
"Not in other places, perhaps," he said, "but here you do. The dampness
comes up from the Potomac at nightfall, and it's just as well to be
careful. It's Mrs. Harrison's dictum," he added smiling. "Halford, send
up for one of my light coats, will you, please?"
Bok remarked, as he put on the President's coat, that this was probably
about as near as he should ever get to the presidency.
"Well, it's a question whether you want to get nearer to it," answered
the President. He looked very white and tired in the moonlight.
"Still," Bok said with a smile, "some folks seem to like it well enough
to wish to get it a second time."
"True," he answered, "but that's what pride will do for a man. Try one
of these cigars."