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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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he looked at me rather feverishly and said, “What will you give me for it?”

Well, the doors opened, and we started dickering at lunch. Horace began figuring out what he needed to pay off his pressing debts and leave himself with some cash for a change to continue operating.


Did he consult the treasurer? How did he know about the finances?


He always knew he was broke, because even when we had money, the treasurer would tell him we didn't. But this day he had a rough idea of what he needed. We agreed on a price: 200,000 dollars cash. This meant I really was going to get the Modern Library for $150,000, because that other $50,000 I figured was down the drain. Liveright cheered up and said, “We'll go right back to the office, and I'll call my lawyer.” There's no need for you to cancel your trip. We'll go right on with the Modern Library as we're doing. We won't change the usual way we replenish the stock. We'll make no extra effort to sell stock off to get rid of it so that when we turn it over to you, there'll be the usual inventory. That's fair, I think. We'll carry on, and when you come back, the deal will be signed:--$200,000 for the Modern Library--and all the inventory that we have goes with it.”

We went back to 48th Street, one block away, to the office. I was delirious but worried. First of all, I didn't have $150,000.

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