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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

over his shoulders a pair of field-glasses, and he wore
an eyeglass. He did not seem to know anyone,
We could not make out what his nationality was,
"He appeared to be so conceited that the Arab and
the Pole nick-named him " Mezigue "; this is the
argot for " I," " me." " Sezigue " is the argot foi
" he," " him/5 just as " tezigue " is for " thou,"
" thee." One day Ortiz spoke to him and found that
he came from Chili. His father was a merchant from
Lancashire, who had gone to Chili and married
there a Chilian lady. We picked him up and found
him quite mad but very fanny. He had come to Paris
to study opera singing. We pointed out to him that
Paris was not the place to study and that he ought
to go to Milan. This had not occurred to him be-
fore. Later on in the evening he sang; he had a
most wonderful voice of a very beautiful quality and
most awfully loud. It shook the whole cafe. He
sang us " Pagliacci" and other operas. He was, ap-
parently, quite broke and had only one other suit
of clothes besides the top-hat. He confessed shame-
facedly to us that he earned his living by accompany-
ing Cook's tourists round Paris in a char-a-banc.
He spoke English very well, but not so well as
Spanish, and I asked him if he would come and sit
for me in his top-hat. He was delighted and I
bought a large canvas in order to paint him life-
size. I arranged him sitting down with his legs
crossed and holding his stick and the top-hat. In
the background I put a Moroccan rug, which was a
very beautiful colour; reds and blues* This rug I
bought from one of the carpet-sellers who infest all
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