From The Death-Bed Of T. Herman Zweibel, The Zweibel Estate.
To Miss Lillian Gish, Holly-wood, Calif.
I apologize for not writing you lately. So much has happened in the past several months that I haven't the space to summarize it all here. I haven't heard from you recently, either. I believe the last letter I received from you was in 1916. Actually, that was a letter of mine addressed to you which was labeled "Return To Sender" in a feminine hand. And a deliciously feminine hand it was, too, sweet Lillian!
I do not blame you if you are angry with me. After all, my torrid affair with Miss Bernadette Fiske was highly publicized, and after my wife passed away in 1937, I had pledged my eternal love to you and only you. So why, you must be asking in your tearful anguish, did I succumb to the charms of another woman?
I did this, sweet Lillian, because Miss Fiske was a candle in the tempest who needed the love and guidance of an older gentle-man. Her constant entreaties for large sums of money tugged at my heart-strings as they would any man's. The help-less kitten! How she reminded me of your fellow thespianess of the photo-plays, Mary Miles Minter. Now there was a dame who wasn't too stuck-up to let me ride her like a race-horse.
What I really want to say is, you are still my true soul-mate, and if you can find it in your-self to get over your anger, please know that you are welcome at any time to come live at the Zweibel Estate. N. Aeschylus, the beautiful and enormous love-child that Miss Fiske bore me, needs a mama. Right now, he has taken to a wire-mother that he constructed him-self, and he often embraces it close with his precociously long, telescoping arms. He seems to like it a lot, but I would prefer a mother of flesh and blood, and you would suit this to a T, dear Lillian.
I require your loving attentions, as well, especially in the night-time. Lately, I have been plagued with night-mares of my nemesis, the hideous mechanical ro-bot Mr. Tin, lumbering into my bed-chamber and injecting me with serum designed to make me stupid. My blood runs cold just thinking of it! That is why I wish to have you by my side, and we can all be a happy little family, watching N. Aeschylus fly about on his jet-feet.
As ever, I remain yours, fondly,
Your loving and devoted T. Herman.
T. Herman Zweibel, the great grandson of Onion founder Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, was born in 1868, became editor of The Onion at age 20, and persisted in various editorial posts until his launching into space in 2001. Zweibel's name became synonymous with American business success in the 20th century. Many consider him the “Father Of American Journalism,” also the title of his well-known 1943 biography, written by Norman Rombauer.