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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

Great James Street and I thought that I would stay
there. When I got there I found that they had gone
away and had taken the key with them. I went to
the Eiffel Tower where I found Tommy Earp.
Tommy said that he had a spare room at Regent
Square and I could stay there until I could get my
key from my friends. I had dinner at the Eiffel and
we decided to call on the way back to Regent
Square, on a friend of ours who lived in Bedford
Square. We rang her up and she asked us to come
and see her. When we arrived she unfolded a tragic
story. Her father had gone away that morning
leaving a very old mahogany box in the drawing-
room, containing bottles of brandy and wine, but
the key could not be found. We all gazed at this
very solid looking box, with its iron lock and enor-
mous keyhole. Silently Tommy took the poker, I
took a corkscrew, our hostess took a nail file, and
another girl took a fork and got seriously to work on
the box. We wrenched and dug and poked furiously
for about ten minutes with no success at all. Finally,
Tommy attacked the hinge with the poker and it
showed signs of opening but, alas! the box lifted
from the ground and then dropped down with a
thud and a dreadful noise of smashing glass. Out
of it poured a long river of red liquid. Tommy, with
great presence of mind, seized a tumbler and held
it between the lid and the box. He filled the glass.
From another portion of the box a small stream
trickled along the parquet floor and made rivulets,
which formed into a small lake. This was all very
disheartening. We shared the glass. It tasted like
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