Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 1029

then was the main dining room, and there was a sort of a balcony all the way around it. You went up a few steps, and it was above the main part of the restaurant. And we had a table on the balcony right next to the railing looking down on the restaurant. It was a lovely restaurant. A beautiful hotel, the Ritz was. It's a crime they tore it down.

Anyway, Dreiser said, “What do you want with me, Liveright?”

And Horace was being very coy and said, “Now, now, we'll have our lunch.”

Dreiser was getting grumpier and grumpier. “What have you got to tell me?”

Finally after we had finished our meat, before the coffee came, Horace said, “Dreiser, I sold The American Tragedy.”

Dreiser said, “Oh, come on.”

He said, “I did.”

Finally Dreiser said, “Well, what did you get for it.”

Horace said, “$85,000.”

Well, it took a few minutes for this to sink into Dreiser, and then he let out a cry of triumph. He exulted, “What I'm going to do with that money.” He took a pencil out of his pocket and began writing on the tablecloth. He said, “I'm going to pay off the mortgage on my place up in Croton, and I'm going to get an automobile,” and so on.

Horace listened for a minute, then reminded Dreiser, “You know, you're not getting the whole $85,000. Remember our deal? You get 50 and then we split the last 35. You're going to get $67,500 and not $85,000.”

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help