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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

VERY    EARLY    DAYS

of the "nineties. A large doll was brought for me
with a view to instilling some feminine feeling into
me, but being of an imitative disposition I placed its
head in the fire-place with its legs sticking over the
nursery fender, stole one of my father's bamboo
canes, turned up its skirts, and beat it so that its
head was battered on the grate; it was mended but
as this occurred again and again the family gave it
up. One nursemaid left after another. A very tall
one came and I found that her white apron made a
very nice slide, so she went too.
We went to the grand review on the Lines; I sat
beside the coachman. In the carriage was my
Mother, my Grandmother, an old lady and an old
gentleman. The ladies wore hats like birds'-nests.
When the guns went off I gave a loud howl and fell-
backwards into the carriage on to the birds'-nests.
I was left at home next time.
In 1898 my Father was sent to Belfast where we
had a house near the Ormeau Road. I was sent
out one Saturday evening to fetch a medicine glass
as my sister was ill and the servants had gone out.
It was a terrifying experience, every house seemed
to be a pub and outside lying against the barrels of
whisky were drunken men and women: I had to
dodge them and wind my way through them,
I and my brother went to an Irish mixed school,
we were regarded as foreigners, and as I did not feel
able to deal with the pupils I did my best to have
my revenge on the music mistress who, poor woman,
had a miserable time and probably still hates the
English. In Belfast I first felt real affection. An
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