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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING  TORSO
CHAPTER I                                          VERY EARLY DAYS
ONE morning towards the end of the year 1889, a
lady who lived in a terrace of houses on the top of a
high rock surrounded by battlements descended into
the kitchen to order the food for the day. She was
in a few months' time to have a child. She was
suddenly seized with a strong feeling that she must
come upstairs, cross the garden and look down on
the seashore. The impulse became so strong that
she went upstairs,, crossed the garden and looked
over the battlements. Standing on the shore far
below was a man with dark hypnotic eyes* This
man, whenever he saw her, stared at her in a way
that frightened her; he had lived a long time in the
East.
The child she was about to bear was myself. I
have often wondered if that man hypnotized her in
any way that may afterwards have affected me or
induced me to start on a career that was so different
from that of my family or my upbringing. On
February the fourteenth, 189051 was born*
Everybody was furious, especially my Father, who
still is. As soon as I became conscious of anything
I was furious too, at having been born a girl; I have
since discovered that it has certain advantages. My
first recollection of anything is walking downstair^
step by step, to join a little boy who was standing at
 I