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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

had a sister who knew some artists in Chelsea and
wondered what strange kind of individual I could
be. She wrote asking me to tea. The family were
charming people. My future model's name was
Dilys and her father was Welsh. She came and
sat for me and I painted a life-size portrait which
delighted us both. I gave it to a second-rate woman
novelist who, I believe, put it in the dustbin.
At this time Mark Gertler was very much talked
about. He was painting pictures of Jewish char-
acters in Whitechapel which were very interesting,
and I saw an exhibition of his things at CheniPs in
Chelsea. There was a self-portrait there of a young
man with a fringe and very blue eyes. One day I
met him and a girl called Carrington, who had won
a Scholarship at the Slade. She had fair hair which
was cut like an Italian page. She was one of the
first women in England to cut off her hair and was
very much stared at as she never wore a hat. I in-
vited them both to tea and felt rather as if I had
invited a god and goddess. Carrington appeared
in one red shoe and one blue. We talked about Art
and the future, and I preserved Gertler's tea-cup
intact and unwashed on the mantelpiece. It re-
mained there for about a month; I felt that it ought
to be given to a museum. He asked me to come to
tea. He lived in Bishopsgate with his sister and
brother-in-law. I found myself in a Jewish market
where hardly anyone spoke English. I finally got
to his house. He went downstairs and fetched up a
tray with the tea on it; he put it down on the floor
and said," Help yourself! " I met at this time a girl
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