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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

was nearly always at the cafe. He had given up
ragging the Recruiting Offices. He was often with
Lilian Shelley, the girl who sang at the Gave of the
Golden Calf. She was the craziest and most
generous creature in the world. If she had a necklace
or a bracelet on and anyone said that they liked it,
she would say, " Have it! "
One day a tall young man appeared at my studio.
He said he was an art dealer and that he had bought
some of Augustus John's drawings.    He bought
several of my paintings, for which he gave me a
small sum of money.    This I did not mind, as
Sickert had always told me to sell things cheap
because, like that, one sold more.   I asked him if he
knew Sickert and he did not, so the next day I took
him over to see him.    The following day Sickert
asked him to lunch.   I was not there.   At that time
Sickert was by no means rich.   Round his studio,
high upon the walls, was a shelf.   On it were a quari-
tity of canvases, mostly small ones, with their faces
to the wall.   During luncheon the art dealer looked
round the shelves and said, " I make you a sporting
offer for all the canvases on the shelf—fifty pounds! "
And Sickert said, " Done."   He did not know him-
self what was on them.  When he took them down he
found that on each canvas was a very very good paint-
ing. There were about fifty. The art dealer gave a
scream of delight, and on the strength of it, took a
gallery, and had an exhibition which was an enor-
mous success, and everyone was delighted.    One
day Sickert told me that he and his wife had taken
a house at Bath for the summer.   He asked me to
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