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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

CHAPTER VI                                                                 LIFE
I WAS now twenty-two, and having read many
books, thought that it was time to consider the
problem of sex. I was almost completely ignorant.
I decided that the next man I met and whom I liked
I would hand myself over to. I went to see an
elderly woman in Chelsea and asked her what
happened. She gave me such a terrifying descrip-
tion that when the moment arrived for the presenta-
tion of my virginity I required more courage than
a soldier has when " Going over the top.'5
One day I went to see Crowley in the Fulham
Road, where I met a most beautiful creature. He
had long green eyes and hands like the Angel in the
National Gallery by Filippino Lippi. He seemed
to like me too. He took two rooms near Fitzroy
Square; one night I arranged to see him at 10.30.
I arrived and he said, " Will you take your clothes
off? " So I did and the deed was done. I did not
think very much of it, but the next morning I had
a sense of spiritual freedom and that something im-
portant had been accomplished.
I read frequently the poems of Paul Verlaine, and
translations (of which there were not many) of
Arthur Rimbaild. One day I read Berrichon's
book on Rimbaud and discovered to my amusement
that the rooms where I had left my virginity behind
were those that Rimbaud and Verlaine had stayed
in in London. One day I said to Walter Sickert,
" Do you think that they will put up a blue plaque
44