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An Open Letter To Lillian Gish

From the Bed-chamber of T. Herman Zweibel.
The Zweibel Estate.

My Dear Miss Gish,

Why have you not been answering my mash notes of late? I cannot even remember the last time you spoke to me, it has been so long. I trust you are doing well. Did you like the roses my man-servant Standish presented to you with my compliments?

Anyway, I will cut to the chase: Mrs. Zweibel is dead, and we are now free to shack up. I understand the concerns you have voiced about our significant age difference and my rakish reputation: After all, I am several years older than your cherished father-figure and mentor D.W. Griffith, and I am infamous for romancing the most celebrated lady-actresses of the stage and moving-daguerreotypes. But can a sane man help it if such ravishing creatures as Ethel Barrymore and Sophie Tucker drive him into paroxysms of desire?

And it is not as though you are free of scandal yourself. I saw you making time with that Chinee-man in Broken Blossoms. But can't you see that I can give you all the treasures you could possibly want? You can move into Mrs. Zweibel's old bed-chamber, and you can come to my bed-chamber at night and keep me company. Perhaps you could act out a scene from Birth Of A Nation or read Uncle Tom's Cabin to me.

I know that you put your career before anything else in your life. As America's greatest living newspaper-man, I can empathize with your sentiments. But a beautiful and talented young woman like yourself should not waste her life being out in the world. She should spend it as the idle, bejeweled concubine of an aging, debauched plutocrat.

Please do not keep a lonely old man waiting. If you do not respond, perhaps I will have to ask Miss Mary Pickford if she will have me. Oh, I did not mean that, dear, sweet Lillian. They are the rash, selfish words of a man madly in love. Promise me that when you receive this epistle you will promptly reply with your answer. As ever, I remain yours, fondly,
Your ever-loving and devoted,
T. Herman

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