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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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So they started arguing with him that he hadn't given his word--the deal had just been talked about--and I began seeing my whole great coup going out the window. At this time I had one of those strokes of luck that have spotted my life all the way through. Downstairs there arrived one of the most famous literary agents in the country with a pistol in his pocket to shoot Liveright! Liveright was having an affair with his wife, and he had found out about it. Some melodrama! Word came up that Mr. So-and-So was downstairs in a rage waving a pistol, and Liveright, shaking, sent Julian Messner out to calm this man down. So my most vehement enemy at the moment, Julian Messner, had to go out to soothe the irate agent who was going to shoot Liveright, leaving only Arthur Garfield Hayes in the office, and after all, Hayes was just a lawyer. After a while he said, “Well, you're my client. I've given you my advice. If you don't want to listen to it, the hell with you.” And he drew up a little piece of paper, which we both signed.

Meanwhile, Messner and the agent were having a few downstairs, and when last seen the two of them were weaving down 48th Street arm in arm, the agent having forgotten all about his plan to shoot Liveright. That agent went on for many many years and remarried. He's dead now, but his widow is still one of the great agents in the United States. But this was musical comedy--that's what it was--because I don't think this man knew how to shoot a pistol. I don't even know if it was loaded, but he was brandishing it. Ten-twenty-thirty stuff--just at the right moment for me!

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