MUNICH, July 3, '93. DEAR MR. HALL,--You make a suggestion which has once or twice flitted dimly through my mind heretofore to wit, sell L. A. L.
I like that better than the other scheme, for it is no doubt feasible, whereas the other is perhaps not.
The firm is in debt, but L. A. L. is free--and not only free but has large money owing to it. A proposition to sell that by itself to a big house could be made without embarrassment we merely confess that we cannot spare capital from the rest of the business to run it on the huge scale necessary to make it an opulent success.
It will be selling a good thing--for somebody; and it will be getting rid of a load which we are clearly not able to carry. Whoever buys will have a noble good opening--a complete equipment, a well organized business, a capable and experienced manager, and enterprise not experimental but under full sail, and immediately able to pay 50 per cent a year on every dollar the publisher shall actually invest in it--I mean in making and selling the books.
I am miserably sorry to be adding bothers and torments to the over-supply which you already have in these hideous times, but I feel so troubled, myself, considering the dreary fact that we are getting deeper and deeper in debt and the L. A. L. getting to be a heavier and heavier burden all the time, that I must bestir myself and seek a way of relief.
It did not occur to me that in selling out I would injure you--for that I am not going to do. But to sell L. A. L. will not injure you it will put you in better shape. Sincerely Yours S. L. CLEMENS.
July 8, '92. DEAR MR. HALL,--I am sincerely glad you are going to sell L. A. L. I am glad you are shutting off the agents, and I hope the fatal book will be out of our hands before it will be time to put them on again. With nothing but our non-existent capital to work with the book has no value for us, rich a prize as it will be to any competent house that gets it.
I hope you are making an effort to sell before you discharge too many agents, for I suppose the agents are a valuable part of the property.