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What did his wife think of this? Did she know--?
She was wise to him. That was what Mary Ellis‘father
was furious at him about. He knew Horace's reputation, and he
was livid with rage. One day Horace was reading a love letter
from a girl--a passionate letter indeed--to all of us, and the
door opened and Lucille, his wife, came walking into the room.
Horace had a little desk with a shallow drawer at the top. He
took the letter, jammed it into the desk and shut the drawer.
She sailed in, ignoring us, and said, “This time I caught you
red-handed. What was that letter you were reading, a letter
from one of your girls, I'll bet.” We sat there terror-stricken.
Horace reached his greatest height. In his best Barrymore
manner he said, “Lucille, you have insulted me in front of my
staff.” I particularly remember that “my staff.” He said,
“I demand that you open that drawer and read aloud to my staff
the letter you just saw me put in that drawer.” She looked at
him for a minute, wilted, and apologized. “I guess I spoke
out of turn.” We were absolutely swept by admiration. A
performance by a master mountebank!
Did she stay with him?
They finally separated, but that was after I left.
I'll tell a couple more Horace Liveright stories. There
was a drug store down at the corner of 48th Street and Sixth
Avenue. This is all part of Radio City now. We used to go
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