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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Oh, no. This had nothing to do with business. I was going on a vacation, my first trip abroad.

The day I was to sail--the boat was sailing at 10 o'clock that night--Horace Liveright took me to lunch to give me a farewell luncheon. My excitement amused him--the great sophisticatet! We ate at a speakeasy called Jack's and Charlie's, which of course is now “21.” It was then on 49th Street. The reason I remember this all so clearly because it was a very important day in my life. At lunch (Horace obviously had had one or two drinks before we went out, and this was unusual--he was not a drunk; a few drinks would stimulate him and exhilarate him; he didn't hold his liquor too well), the minute we sat down, he ordered another big drink for himself. I said, “What's the matter? You're a bundle of nerves.”

He said, “My father-in-law is driving me crazy. He comes down and gives me the third degree and wants me to account for where all the money is. Well, you know as well as I do, I don't know where it is.” He said, “I'm not going to tell him about every girl I go out with. He thinks because I'm married to his daughter he can demand these things. Oh, how I'd like to pay him off and get rid of him.”

So I blandly said, “One very easy way to pay him off, Horace, is to sell me the Modern Library.”

I had suggested this to him four or five times, but every time I did he had thrown me out of the office. He knew at heart that this was the greatest asset of the business. This time, however, instead of saying, “Don't start that again,”

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