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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

I    COME    OF    AGE

CHAPTER V                                                    I COME OF AGE
I WAS now twenty-one. I was introduced one day
to a poet. He had long hair. He lived with an
extremely beautiful girl who was an actress. She
had golden eyes and the most perfect eyebrows; she
had long black hair down to her waist. He wrote
hundreds and hundreds of poems to her. She had
plenty of money always. The poet talked of Aleister
Crowley, of whom I had heard a good deal. He
was supposed to be very clever and very wicked, I
was taken to his studio and introduced to him. I
found him extremely intelligent and he did not
strike me as being very bad. He asked me to paint
four panels with signs representing the elements,
earth, air, fire, and water; while I was painting
Fire, apparently the Fire Element escaped, and three
fires started in mysterious ways in the studio on the
same day. It was said that Growley was so wicked
that no young thing could remain alone in the same
room with him in safety. One day I was painting
by the fire and his secretary went out, leaving me
alone with him. He was lying on the hearthrug in
front of the fire asleep. He woke up, stared at me,
and said, " ARE YOU ALONE? " I said, " YES,35
and he lay down and went to sleep again. Growley
had some drug from South America; it was quite
harmless and one saw colours. He never offered to
give me any. One day a rich marmalade manu-
facturer, who had come to study magic, was given
some. He was stone deaf and was sitting by the
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