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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

this was considered most shocking, and when she
appeared at the Palace Theatre there was a terrible
disturbance.
Neither of us had any money or, at least, very
little and we ate often at a little restaurant in Soho
where we got credit. We had often with us officers
of all nationalities. Italians in blue cloaks, French-
men, Guardsmen, and so we did not always have to
" Chalk it up." I painted a portrait of Constance.
She had a black turban on and a red robe, rather
like a burnous that the Arabs wear. It was a good
painting and was bought by Sir Michael Sadler.
I sent it to the National Portrait Society and it was
accepted. On the day of the private view, Con-
stance and I went. The place was full of all kinds
of grand people. They all flocked to my portrait,
expecting to see an almost nude woman. They
were bitterly disappointed, and Constance and I
laughed.
There were parties nearly every night, as all the
time officers were returning on leave for a few days.
This, I think, was the beginning of" gate crashing."
Someone would arrive and say, " Let's have a party
to-night, collect your friends and tell them to bring
anyone they can," and, of course, they did. One
week we went to five all-night parties and did not
go to bed at all. The first one was in Chelsea,
given by an artist who wore a Russian shirt and
played the accordion. Constance and I went and
brought two Italian officers with us who were much
admired in their blue cloaks. The party was such
a success that Constance decided to give one the
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