" 'No, of course not,' I said.
" 'Will you join us for a drink?' the fellow asked.
" 'Of course,' I said.
"I could see that they were very much embarrassed. One of them told me he had never been thrown out of a place before.
" 'If you hang around with that little fellow,' I said, 'you'll be thrown out of a great many places.'
"Finally they asked me if they could stay and have dinner, provided they ate in another room. I told them I certainly had no objection to that. They were really quite nice."
Tunney's clear blue eyes came alive with laughter. "I understand the little fellow never came back. Perhaps he thought the Press Box employed Gene Tunney as a bouncer."
It is the dream of a large part of mankind to be able to boast, as John L. Sullivan did, "I can lick any man in the house." Like Sullivan, Tunney could once boast (tastefully, of course) of licking any man in the house—or the world. But it has been his ambition to impress his fellows as much with his intellect as with his fists. Since America solicits the opinions of her athletic champions on matters ranging from juvenile delinquency to breakfast foods, Gene's victory over Dempsey provided him with a rostrum from which to air his opinions about literature.
Asked in 1927 for his appraisal of G. B. Shaw's prizefight novel, Cashel Byron's Profession, Tunney replied with all the directness of a straight right: "Cashel Byron is stupid and boring. He is always on a soapbox. Shaw knows nothing about boxing—or women."
To which Shaw is reported to have made the petulant reply: "If Tunney thinks he can write a better story about 19th-century boxing, let him try."