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Notable New     Yorkers
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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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one look at them and didn't ask them any questions; he dumped them off on the third floor. They looked like a couple of cooks. There were late coming upstairs, and I wondered if they had gotten lost. They arrived with Gertrude screaming with laughter. This didn't bother her a bit. She said, “That damn fool elevator boy thought we were a couple of cooks and dumped us off first at the employment agency.”

Gertrude pretended to be angry with all the stories that kidded her, but she liked them. If some smart-alek went too far, she got annoyed. She had one reporter fired. She went down to the newspaper office and had him thrown out. Everybody wanted to meet her. The great Alec Wollcott demanded to have lunch alone with Gertrude Stein.

I lived at that time in the Navarro, located at 112 West 59th Street, facing Central Park--a very nice bachelor apartment. Gertrude and Woollcott and Alice Toklas and I had lunch together in this apartment. Woollcott began talking, as he always did, but Gertrude Stein stopped him cold and said, “Mr. Woollcott, I am talking.” Woollcott actually shut up. She disputed him a couple of times, and he said, “People don't dispute Woollcott.” She countered, “I'm not people; I'm Gertrude Stein.” Woollcott screamed with laughter. They got along wonderfully. She disarmed everybody.

Next thing you know, she was invited to the White House. She stayed with the President for a week-end. She became the rage. She was the great success of the season in New York.

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