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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

wonderful jewels.    There was one about an inch
and a half long.   It represented a semi-nude man.
His torso was composed of a natural pearl.   The
head had been modelled in gold but the pearl was
so shaped that it represented perfectly the body of a
man.   I don't think he had legs but a fish's tail that
was made of gold.   There were other jewels in the
rest of the design.   The case was filled with equally
beautiful pieces of jewellery.   I said, with a gasp,
" Whatever are these? " As a matter of fact I had
already guessed.   Lady Michelham, whose memory
was very bad, said, " I can't remember the man's
name.55   I said, " Benvenuto Cellini," and she said,
" Yes, that is his name."    I said that I must be
going, and she said, " Before you go my maid will
give you a little box."    I guessed that it would
probably contain some clothes, as all my women
friends were most thoughtful and kind and realized
the importance of clothes, consequently I always
looked well dressed.   If one is smartly dressed, even
if one lives in a garret, one can always ask more for
one's pictures.   The maid handed me a cardboard
box about a foot and a half in length and a foot wide
and three inches deep, which was so heavy that I
could, only with difficulty, lift it.   I placed it on the
pavement outside and waited till a taxi appeared.
When I got it home I opened it and found four
most splendid evening dresses.   They were covered
in beads and that was why the box was so heavy.   I
tried them on and they fitted me perfectly.   They
were long and straight and all being French models
would, .to-day, have been most fashionable.
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