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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHING   TORSO

is opposite the Gare Montparnasse. I went with
Madame Bing and three other Germans. One was
a professor of mathematics. He did not like being
accosted by strange ladies in cafes, so he would sit
when he was alone, with a piece of paper stuck into
the ribbon of his bowler hat with " Sourd-Muet"
written on it. They talked of how the Germans
were going to kill all the English very soon. I pro-
tested, but they said, " You will see, and quite soon
too.35 Although they were very nice to me I think
they got great pleasure in trying to frighten me. I
knew nothing whatever about politics or the Euro-
pean situation and it did not worry me at all.
Occasionally we would go to the downstairs5 bar at
the Cafe du Pantheon in the Boul' Mich5. There
were many students and very many painted prosti-
tutes there. Sprigs of white lilac were sold and
presented to the ladies. I was rather shocked and
thought that the white lilac was much too pure and
beautiful to be presented to such obvious harpies.
On Friday nights the literary people assembled at
the Closerie des Lilas. The great man there was
Paul Fort, and everybody sat round and listened to
him. He wore a large black hat and long hair and
certainly looked like a poet. Alexandre Mercereau
was there too; I knew him, but I never met Paul
Fort. The poets did not really like the artists com-
ing there, but we sat in a corner and looked im-
pressed, so they got used to us. I wore a jumper
made on the same pattern as those Henri and I wore
in London, only it was of a large cubist design in
blue, orange, and black. No one in Paris had seen
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