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today; and, anyway, the spirit of the times doesn't allow
it. In those days, things were so much freer and easier!
You know, Charlie McArthur and Ben Hecht once stole a street
car late at night in some town in Michigan. They were
waiting for a car, both of them pie-eyed, about 1:30 in the
morning; and one of these midnight trolley cars came along.
The motorman was also the conductor; and he got out of the
car for a minute to help some old lady into the house, which
they did in those days. Hecht and McArthur jumped on the
car and rode off with it. They spent the night in jail.
Oh, these episodes--I could tell you dozens of them!
We'll get them interspersed.
How about Ernest Hemingway? You were going to tell
me about meeting him.
The first time that I met him we had The Sun Also
Rises and Farewell to Arms in the Modern Library. One day
we had a new telephone operator and she called up and said,
“There's a Mr. Hemingway in the lobby. Should I let him
up?" I said, “What do you mean? What Mr. Hemingway? What's
his first name?" She said, “Ernest Hemingway.” I thought
that somebody was kidding. It was Ernest Hemingway. He had
dropped in when he saw the Modern Library sign. We had sold
thousands of his books, and he thought that he'd come in and
say hello. I remember the thrill I had when Ernest Hemingway
walked into the office!
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