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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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one of them was Norman Douglas! He had a very shrill voice, Lawrence did. “Norman!" he cried and came running down the stairs. Mind you, this frail man died within seven months of T.B. But he literally dashed down the stairs. Douglas jumped out of the car. And these two men, tears of joy in their eyes, wrapped their arms around each other. Lawrence paid no attention to me whatever. I might as well have not been there. The two of them were ecstatic and Lawrence was calling, “Freda, Freda, look who's come!" Out came Freda, still a very handsome creature, though now quite rotund, and she joined the celebration. The three of them were patting each other on the back and squealing, but finally Norman Douglas said, “This is my young friend, Bennett Cerf, whom I know you've been waiting for,” and they greeted me. And we went inside. The house was a pig pen. Freda Lawrence was no housekeeper, and I still remember that in the middle of the parlor's marble floor an empty milk bottle was lying on its side. It hadn't been washed. Here was a man dying of T.B. and the house was kept this way!

Well, we sat and talked--that is, they did, and I sat listening with amazement. Finally Douglas said, “Well, this young publisher has come here to see Lawrence. Freda, let's you and I take a walk and leave them alone for a little while.”

Directly they got out of the house and Lawrence and I were alone, he wheeled on me and said, “How dare you bring that man into my house!" Isn't that unbelievable? I almost fell over. He said, “Don't you know that we're not talking?

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