Letter 055, pg. 3
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a matter of the kind of mess that happens when conversations have to be held in a three-cornered way. That is why I insist that Miss Sorsby be kept out of it—since she was not in it from the beginning—and if you wish to discuss this further, it must be done personally between you and me.
This, then, is the business side of the matter. Now I’d like to take a little time on the personal side of it—because I think I can make it clearer to you in a letter than in conversation. You will have time to consider it without hurry and form your own opinion.
I want to repeat here once more that any criticism I might make of anyone in your office does not constitute a criticism of you personally. I think that your attitude on this point lies at the root of all our troubles. You have never done this before—and for many years our relations have been more than merely those of author-and-agent; we have been very good friends and we have had no trouble of any kind. But now you seem to have taken the position that’s best described by the old saying of “love me—love my dog.” I don’t mean this in any insulting manner, but I think you understand what this saying implies. You seem to have taken it as a personal insult to you or as lack of confidence in you if I criticized anyone in your office. And yet you know that no executive, however able, can always be right in the selection of his associates. The best and wisest make mistakes some times and to admit it is no detriment to you in any manner. But whenever I mentioned specific things which Miss Sorsby had done and of which I didn’t approve, you did not even do me the justice and courtesy of investigating the case on its merits and accepting my views or pointing out to me my error. Instead, you simply showed such bitter resentment, almost hatred, that I had no choice left but to leave you. This was one of the main reasons. Do you wish an example? I asked you whose idea it was to send the script of my play to Lionel Stander. You said it was your own—and you were very angry at me for asking. When, over the telephone, I asked the same question of Miss Sorsby, she said it had been her idea—as, of course, I had known all along. I have too much respect for your literary judgment to have believed that you would have done such a stupid thing. I have mentioned this submission to several experienced theatrical people. They laughed in my face. Now wouldn’t it have been fairer for you to investigate, ask other people in the theater and form your own opinion on whether such a submission had been wise or dignified? But you did not do this. You preferred to take my doubt of Miss Sorsby as an insult to you. That, of course, is your privilege. If you enjoy the thought that I have no confidence in you and have insulted you—you are free to think it. But if such a thought is not pleasant to you—and after the kind of relationship we have had for years, I don’t think that you can find it pleasant—then I want to say here that it is not so. I never doubted you personally or your intentions toward me. I do doubt Miss Sorsby’s efficiency. If you wish to make it one—well, I can’t help it. But I don’t accept it in this way.
To finish with the subject of Miss Sorsby, I want to say also that I have nothing against her as a person—since I do not know anything about her. I am willing to believe that she is honestly doing the best she can. But I do know that she is totally inexperienced as