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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHING   TORSO

Out of this piece of marble he made the first
torso of me, which is now in the Victoria and Albert
Museum. I thought he was the most wonderful
person that I had ever met. The sister was rather
terrifying and Polish. At that time young men had
the idea that Polish women were the only women
in the world. They certainly had brains, but also
temperaments and many " complexes.35 She and
Henri lived in rooms in Putney and Henri had a
workshop under one of the arches of Putney Bridge.
I spent every Sunday afternoon with him. We
bought chestnuts and roasted them and he drew me
in my clothes. Henri had a bright red shirt. A
friend of mine had invented a shirt, the neck was
cut square, it was what is now called a jumper.
Henri had a red one and wore it inside his trousers.
I wore mine outside my skirt and people stared at
us in the street. Henri talked about the " sales
bourgeois" In the next arch of Putney Bridge there
lived an academic sculptor who did monuments.
He did not carve stone, so Henri despised him. He
had a band of Italian workmen who came and did
the dirty work for him, that is to say, they hacked
out the stone. When the sculptor was out Henri
would buy the workmen some Chianti and learn
from them how to carve stone. He bought a forge
cheaply and put it in his backyard. There he used
to forge the tools that he sculpted with. It was a
wonderful machine with large bellows and made a
great noise. Henri said to me, " Don't mind what
people say to you, find out what you have in yourself
and do your best, that is the only hope in life."
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