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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

I    BEGIN    TO    BE    AN    ARTIST
we were quite exhausted and they never seemed to
have really said anything at all. We had violent
arguments in the evenings over the respective values
of Dostoievsky and Shakespeare.
A Russian uncle appeared one day, his name was
Alexander. There was a piano in the house called
the Castrule, which is the Russian name for sauce-
pan, because it made such an odd noise. Uncle
Alexander sat down to it after luncheon one day
and played without stopping for eight hours; he
played rather like a barrel organ. He was very
sweet and had an enormous grey beard and steel-
rimmed spectacles.
I went to my first cinema in Finland. There
were no street lamps so we started in a procession
with sticks and Chinese lanterns attached by strings.
We saw the old Italian funny films where cart
wheels dropped off and old ladies were left sitting on
them being whirled round and round.
There was a Kursaal where we were taken and
given one glass of Swedish punch each—quite
enough, as it was very intoxicating and would cer-
tainly have gone to our heads. Sometimes they
had fetes and we would dance the Mazurka with Finns
and Russians. That was fun and much better than
Charlestons and jazz dances. The Finns are mostly
very ugly and quick-tempered. One of our.friend*s
cooks disappeared suddenly and we heard that she
had been displeased with the butcher and had
thrown a large mutton bone at him, doing con-
siderable damage, and had been locked up for a
month. There were Northern Lights at night, not