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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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side, but South Wind was his great triumph. He had been eased out of the British diplomatic service because of his homosexual activities, but what appeared before me was a handsome, silverhaired gentleman, who couldn't have been more charming. We had dinner together and got along famously. He introduced me to an Italian publisher who was publishing Mr. Lawrence's brand new Lady Chatterley's Lover in a special edition in Florence, and I subscribed to a copy. I made my check out to Mr. D. H. Lawrence so that when the check came back it was autographed by Lawrence.


Do you still have it?


I'll show it to you upstairs. I pasted it into the book. This is the first limited edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Norman Douglas also introduced me to Reginald Turner, a great friend of Oscar Wilde, who was spending his last days in Florence.

I'll never forget that night when I left Norman Douglas. I was 30, and Douglas said, “I'm sure you won't want to spend the night alone, Bennett. I can get you either a beautiful girl or a beautiful boy. Which do you want?" I chose to go to bed alone. He was planning my whole next day for me, and I said, “Now, wait a minute.” We were now in a first name basis. “Tomorrow I'm scheduled to meet Mr. D. H. Lawrence.” At this time Douglas and Lawrence were not speaking. They had had a terrible fight a year before over an introduction one of them had written for a book, and they weren't talking to each other. I can still hear Douglas saying, “What do you want to waste your time with Lawrence for?”

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