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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING   TORSO

piece of jewellery which had been in before for
seventy francs. It had been redeemed and had to
go back again. They were given a number and
waited their turn. Suddenly the man in the office
called their number: " Number 5, eighty francs/'
and they were so delighted and astonished that they
both screamed " Oui" together in such a loud voice
that everyone stared.
One day I received a letter from my elderly
Canadian cousin, the one who had lived at my
Grandmother's flat and thought that I had gone to
the devil, when I abandoned corsets at the age of
seventeen. I had not seen her for some years. She
was living with another elderly lady in a pension
near the Luxembourg Gardens. I went to lunch
with them. The pension was one of the dreariest
that I have ever entered. It reminded me of,
Balzac's Eugenie Grandet We sat at a long table.
My cousin and her friend drank water. Bottles,
with table napkins tied round their necks, and names
on the labels, were placed on the table belonging to
the French. I drank water and had an abominable
lunch. After lunch my cousin handed me two
one pound notes. I was getting very bored with the
ladies and had an inspiration. I said that I had just
remembered an important engagement at three
p.m. at rny studio with a picture-dealer. I arranged
to meet them at a teashop in Montparnasse later.
I took a taxi and went to the nearest exchange,
which wa,s in Montparnasse, where I received quite
a respectable number of francs. I went to the
Pamasse Cafe, where I bought the boys and girls
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