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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

prove of them as they were only too glad to lead me
astray and, as almost every day one found someone
whom one had not seen for years, it was difficult not
to celebrate. On another occasion an old friend of
mine, after dinner, found a cellar near the Place
St. Michel called the " Sol de cidre." One entered a
cafe through a large door, which was down a little
passage. The patron was an enormous Norman in
a white apron. There were large barrels of cider
on the floor, and at the back a smaller room. On
the walls was a list of celebrities who had visited the
place. Paul Verlaine, Laurent Tailhade, Oscar
Wilde, and so many others that I have forgotten
their names. We drank cider out of a bowl and had
a calvados to cheer it up. Downstairs was a cellar
with Norman arches dated 1145. This place had
been the stable of Francis I. The street next to it is
called " La rue oil git le coeur" I always thought that
that meant, " The street where the heart lodged,"
but I was told afterwards that it meant something
different. Down a side street, at the corner, was the
river. There was a large house which had belonged
to Francis I, at the corner of the street on the quays.
In the time of Francis I the river came right up
to the house. At the other corner of the street was
a smaller house. Here had lived his mistress and
high up over the street was a footbridge connecting
the two houses. In the front room of the Sol was a
counter at which were standing a collection of
ruffians of both sexes. We went downstairs to the
cellar. There were wooden tables and chairs and
a small platform with a man playing an accordion.