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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

PARIS    REVISITED

so I took off all my clothes and she said, " Out., la
m$me chose" so I put them on again, seeing that she
was satisfied that I had not dropped to pieces.
In a small cot, beside WassiliefFs bed, was a child.
I asked where it came from. Wassilieff said that
during the War, one day she was sitting in the
Rotonde and opposite to her she saw a most glorious
looking creature. He was very dark and wore the
uniform of a French officer. He had the Legion of
Honour and many medals. She called for the
waiter to bring some paper and did a drawing of
him. The officer called a waiter and sent a message
asking if he could buy the drawing, Wassilieff spoke
to him but refused to sell it; she invited him to her
studio. He came to see her and Wassilieff found
that he was an Arab of Persian origin. She said that
they at once fell in love and that he always ate
grapes in bed during the night. One day he had to
return to his regiment. Some months later, Wassi-
lieff, looking at herself in the mirror, noticed that
she was getting rather stout. She remembered that
her Mother had grown fat at quite an early age.
As she got fatter and fatter she decided to visit a
doctor who informed her that in four months5 time
she would, if all went well, produce young. The
Arab had completely disappeared, but Wassilieff,
being a very courageous woman, was not unduly
upset. She gave birth to a small brown son, who
had a very loud voice indeed, and very nearly drove
the poor lady mad. She told me of all her troubles
during the War. In 1914, as I have already ex-
plained, she had a canteen where Modigliani, Edgar*
121