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flag would brush past my face and every time it did I would
shudder. Martha thought this was hilariously funny. Goering
was a very cheerful host. Imagine my being a guest at a Goering
Another afternoon I escorted Martha and her mother to
a luncheon at the home of the Kaiser's wife. Martha was having
affairs at this time with both an important attache of the
Russian embassy in Paris (he was sent home on account of her)
and with the head of the Luftwaffe--the German air force!
That girl played the field! The day before I left, her next
victom arrived--Thomas Wolfe! He came a day too early.
The next episode in my life was our merger with Smith
and Haas in 1936. Robert Haas had become a great personal
friend through an early adventure with Moby Dick, which I've
already told you about. So Haas invited me to a party at his
house one night up in the country. He got to talking to me
about the trouble he was having with his firm. He had retired
from the Book of the Month Club. He thought he was going to
devote the rest of his life to philanthropy. He was very rich.
But after a while he became bored doing only charity work, and
started a publishing house with Harrison Smith called Smith &
Haas. Hal Smith had been the top editor at Harcourt. Hal
brought with him to start William Faulkner and Isak Dinesen and
de Brunhoff, creator of Babar, the Elephant. Those were their
three top assets. They also had a superb young woman running
their juvenile department named Louise Benino.
Now, Hal Smith was without question one of the most
amusing but irritating men in the world. He forgot everything.
When we decided to merge--
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