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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHIN G   TORSO

I went with the Countess. It was a gay and lively
place and many English people who objected to
spending the night in bed went there as it kept
open as long as anyone was there. I saw across
the dance floor, sitting at a table with two South
Americans, a very beautiful girl. She saw me and
we stared at each other. I waved to her and she
waved back to me. This was a most remarkable
girl who had been at Brangwyns at the same time
as I had. She was Irish and came from a very
good family. She was about fifteen and a half
or sixteen when I had known her first. She aston-
ished and rather frightened the whole Art School.
I had not seen her for years. Even when she was at
the Art School she was pursued everywhere by
men; she was even stopped in the street. She was
supposed to be engaged to a bourgeois little man whom
I think she had met at a dance. He was at the time
engaged to some very dull girl. I think it was out of
pure devilry and perhaps the feeling of irritation
that such a silly, stupid woman should have got hold
of any man that she encouraged him. She was so
good-looking and attractive that it needed very
little encouragement, if any. The wretched man
asked her to marry him and she accepted. Of
course, she did not care at all for him, and I believe
that, in despair, at the other girl having refused to
have him back, he jumped off a Transatlantic liner.
I used to gaze in admiration at her and wish that
I was so beautiful. Now that I am so much older I
wonder if it is such an advantage and think perhaps
I am better off as I am. We rushed across the
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