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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

BACK   TO    PARIS    AND    CELEBRITIES
continental cafes, and who will walk up and down
in front of the terrasse selling rugs. We had one
particular carpet-seller who also sold coats and
necklaces and sometimes had really beautiful things
for almost nothing. One day he was pestering a
very drunken American and the American said,
" Go away, I don't want any of your goddam
stinking carpets," and our Moroccan answered, in
a deeply pained voice, " Sir, it is not the carpets that
stink, it is me." In the background of my portrait
I put my guitar and a pot of red flowers on the
floor. The white pot, his white collar, and the
spats were the only white spots in the picture. The
canvas was over five feet high, and I had to work
like the devil, even to cover it up. My Pole was
painting in the next room and now and then came
and gave me criticisms. He was an extremely in-
telligent man and knew a great deal more about
painting than I did. The top-hat was indescribably
difficult, not only the drawing, but the shadows,
they were so intensely black. I used no black at all
in my palette but only dark blue, and had to paint
the rest of him in a much higher key than I would
otherwise have done. He was a splendid model
and very vain, and it was almost impossible to
stop him posing when he had once begun. One
day his Father arrived and I was asked to meet
him. He was a charming old gentleman of seventy-
six, but he did not look as old. He had long
fair whiskers and dressed in a dark blue-serge suit
He had rather a nautical appearance. He could
not understand why I wanted to paint his son,
2*3