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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

Arab tower on the sea-shore. We walked round the
bay and got down to the shore. There was a
stone path at the foot of the old fort and the sea
came right up to the path. The Foujitas had the
best house in Collioure. It was practically on the
sea. There was only a road and a small stretch of
seashore in front of it. Matisse had lived there for
many summers. It had a balcony and several large
rooms. At this time Foujita was living with his
first wife, whom I had not met before. She was
French and had most beautiful legs, but her body
was shapeless and enormous. She had the most
terrifying face I have ever seen and I was frightened
of her. She screamed at Foujita most of the time.
They were very kind and pleased to see us and found
us a charming place in a very narrow street near the
sea. It cost a hundred and fifty francs a month. It
had a large room, with two windows looking on to
the street, and an alcove at the back which con-
tained a bed. There was also another small alcove.
In the front room was a primitive stove which burnt
charcoal. The old lady who rented it to us was very
ugly and had long teeth like a horse. Appar-
ently in this part of the world, there is something in
the water which makes people's teeth drop out, and
even the quite young women had teeth missing.
There were no sanitary arrangements of any kind
and a bucket was placed in the smaller alcove for
my use. The gentlemen of the town walked every
morning up a hill to the moat of the fort. The old
lady and most of her family earned their living by
packing and salting fish, principally sardines.
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