"Well?" he asked. "How did you go?"
"Great," I said. "I typed with lots of your machines, typewriters I've never seen first-hand, let alone used before.
"And I managed to fix the drawband on the Baby Fox, it's working again."
"That's good," said Richard. "Because it's yours now."
After the seconds had jumped in with the towels waving and the Xavier paramedics had resuscitated me and picked me off the floor, the reality - the enormity - of what Richard had just said began to sink in.
I was the proud owner of a Baby Fox.
Forty-three hours later, at 8am on Thursday, October 17th, Richard came upstairs to my "library apartment" on the top floor of Clifton House to help me pack for my trip back to Australia.
He handed over, carefully cocooned in bubblewrap, the Baby Fox. "Better find some room for this," he said, smiling broadly.
It was true. I was taking the Fox with me to Australia. I could hardly believe my good fortune, to be the beneficiary of such incredible generosity.
This morning Richard forwarded me an email in which he mentioned - to a third party - that I had "very kindly" taken a Brilliant S to Cincinnati for him. It barely seemed like anything vaguely approaching a fair deal, a worthy comparison. But it did remind me of how much I am indebted to my wonderful Cincinnati host for his gift. Be assured the Baby Fox will, for the rest of my life, be the best possible reminder of that fantastic time I spent in the United States.
This is the greatest gift of all, as far as I am concerned.
Having read Richard's email, I got out the Fox, attached a new nylon drawband and - after promising for weeks to "reveal all" (I did drop hints, but nobody bit) - I typed a few words on this remarkable little folding portable and took heaps of photos of it. (I apologise if I have overdone it.)
So here it is, my most prized typewriter possession. I never dreamed I'd own one, but now, thanks to Richard Polt, I do. And don't I just love it?
Comparisons with the Corona 3
Typewriter Topics, December 1918
This Fox has the serial number 10017, which means it was made in 1918.
Typewriter Topics, October 1920