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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

forest were covered with red and yellow leaves.
Sickert had bought a house that was once a Police
Station. It was on the main street. As a matter of
fact there was only one street. It was a long, narrow
house, and the rooms were in a straight line and all
numbered. These had been cells. My room was
" mimero 3." We ate in a large kitchen. The cook
and the gardener sat at one table and we sat at a
larger one in the middle of the room. Sickert talked
to the servants throughout lunch and dinner and
made them laugh a great deal. They drank red
wine and cider and we drank red wine and calvados.
Envermeu is a dull, flat place, and I never knew
why Sickert had chosen it. I don't think he painted
much there but went into Dieppe, where he painted
some of his best pictures. These are very different
from his Camden Town period. The Camden Town
ones are in a very low key of blacks, greys, and
Indian reds, whereas the Dieppe pictures were
painted in the most brilliant greens, blues, yellows
and reds. I think that it is quite impossible to com-
pare their merits and that it is really a question of
personal taste. On the evening of my arrival I
showed him my pictures, hoping that he would like
them. He was, unfortunately, horrified and hated
them. This filled me with gloom. I rather admired
them myself at that time, but, having seen some of
them recently, am inclined to think that he was
right I have come to the conclusion that the South
of France and I have nothing in common. Brittany
I can deal with, as it is more like England, but the
South, with its hard purple shadows> white houses,
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