The round table grew considerably after that, Wollcott and Frank Adams became members, in part because of their sympathetic attitudes during the firing, as well as other wits like Heywood Broun and Douglas Stewart (more about him to come).
Dorothy kept herself busy writing short stories for Life, but they wanted the kind of snappy light prose about beautiful flappers (the kind her accquaintence F. Scott Fitzgerald was so good at) that never came quite naturally to Dorothy. To occupy themselves, everyone at the round table started drinking, even Robert Benchley.
One memorable night at a speakeasy, a customer bragged that his watch was unbreakable. Â Dorothy and Benchley offered to test it, and took turns slamming it against the tabletop. It finally broke and the customer retrieved it and exclaimed “it’s stopped!” Dorothy and Benchley turned to one another and replied in unison “maybe you wound it too tight!”
Professionally, around that time Benchley and Parker were both appointed editors of the new Harold Ros publication The New Yorker, a publication that was “not for the old lady in Dubuque.” (That was how it was initially pitched).
Things weren’t nearly so amusing with her husband Eddie, who’d returned home from the war with a morphine addiction. He began hitting Dorothy on a fairly regular basis, so that many days she’d arrive at the Algonquin Round table with a black eye. Eddie claimed it was New York that was making him behave that way, and that if he went to Hartford he’d be able to sober up.
Dorothy really, really did not want to move to Hartford. She did, however, promise to buy a cookbook.
It was not enough. Eddie departed. Dorothy did not.
Marc Connelly claimed that “when she and Eddie were together I don’t think she had any lovers. But after Eddie left, then the men were in and out of her house like mail.”
Dorothy fell in love with a newspaperman named Charles Gordon MacArthur. He was exactly the wrong sort of man for Dorothy to fall in love with – Neysa McMein, a painter and good friend of Dorothy’s – presented him with a rubber stamp which read “I love you” which she said would save him time writing letters to his conquests.
Dorothy became pregnant, but by that time Charles had lost interest in her, and she had an abortion.
MacArthur contributed $30 towards the operation. Dorothy said “it was like Judas making a refund.”