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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

I    BEGIN    TO    BE    AN    ARTIST

with a very large, moustache, was there. He pro-
duced a flute from his pocket and I danced. We
were later introduced. This was Ransome. I
went to his flat one day; as he opened the door
there was an awful smell of shag and beer. Ransome
said, " I am awfully sorry but a friend of mine, a
gipsy, arrived here with his donkey-cart filled with
ferns which he hawks round. I have not seen him
for years." Ransome invited him in and they
talked Romany, drank beer, and smoked shag.
Later, when they came out, the donkey-cart had
been taken to the police station.

Ransome was editing a series of translations of
short stories by foreign authors. One day he asked
me to dine with him at the cc Good Intent,35 on
Chelsea Embankment, he was meeting a young man
who was in Fleet Street. I was much impressed as
I had just read The Street of Adventure, by Philip
Gibbs. The young man was Hugh Walpole. They
talked and I listened and felt that life had really
begun.

Nineteen hundred and nine. A very talented girl
at the Art School, who had been born and brought
up in Russia, asked me to spend the summer vacation
with her family. I was delighted and took the last ten
pounds out of the savings bank and we took a ship
from the Millwall Dock to St. Petersburg.
We were given in charge of the Captain, but he
could never find us in the evenings. We discovered
some students in the Second Class with guitars and
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