Letter 055, pg. 4
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a literary agent. I suspect that she has never sold a single play. This does not mean that she may not become an excellent agent eventually. But it does mean that she needs practice and experience—like a beginner in any line, no matter what latent ability she might possess. And I am not in a position to be the guinea-pig in the case. Particularly since Miss Sorsby has shown no desire to understand my view-point or even to inquire about it during the time that the play was in your office. Granting that she has to learn the business—how will she ever learn it if your clients are not allowed to point out her mistakes? If you do not wish to see mistakes corrected and only resent the client for complaining? Do you see how unfair this is—both to the client and to Miss Sorsby herself?
I don’t know whether this has become your attitude towards all your clients or only towards me. I simply don’t know what to think of your attitude toward me for the last year. The change in you began since the failure of “The Unconquered.” I don’t think that that was the reason. But I think it started something in your mind against me—doubt, weariness, or what—I don’t know. It became worse when I worked in the Willkie Campaign. I tried to take the American attitude that each man is entitled to his own opinions, and that our political differences have nothing to do with our relations. You know that politics are an important issue to me, but I never felt any resentment against your political viewpoint and, in all honesty, I know that I never gave you cause to believe I felt such resentment. But I felt resentment in your attitude toward me, a bitter, quiet sort of resentment. Whether it was because I supported Willkie or whether there were other reasons—I don’t know. I noticed only that the question of Willkie was always brought up by you and always bitterly or sarcastically. I didn’t know what to think. I spent a year making my own apologies for some of the things you said to me. I kept saying to myself that you didn’t mean it the way it sounded—and what did it have to do with our relations and with business? And then the time came when I couldn’t do it any longer—and so I had to leave. I still don’t understand what exactly happened between us.
But I think that something has happened in your own life, something that has made you very unhappy—and it has changed your whole attitude toward things and people. I don’t know what it is. I know only that if it were I who had disappointed you in some manner—you would have told me so frankly. You would have had facts and reasons and stated them to me and given me a chance to explain and listened to my explanations. But you never did. In fact, the thing that was hardest for me was that I noticed your desire to avoid any serious conversation with me. Instead, you really tried to go on and do your best for me—with the most frightening sort of resentment growing in you against me. I believe in all sincerity that you honestly tried. I even think that you didn’t want to show the resentment and tried to hide it. But I felt it. More and more every time I saw you. That’s what made it so baffling for me. I still ask: Why? An instinct? What instinct, Ann? Even instincts have reasons behind them.
You know, Ann, business is business, but aren’t there other things besides that are important in life also? You have many clients who bring you more money than I did, but you’ve never had one who was as