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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHING   TORSO

up and we saw that it was a black female coat with a
cape attached, very fashionable at the moment.
Charley said, " You can have it if you give me a
picture  in return/3 and I said, "All right!95    I
rather regretted it afterwards, as Charley came to
my place and chose a very nice oil-painting.   He
had paintings by half the well-known artists in Paris,
which he had wangled one way and another.  There
was a story of a very famous painter wrho was a ter-
rible drunkard. His pictures are now worth thousands
of francs.   He will give them away if he is not
prevented from doing so.   He lives in Montmartre
with his Mother and his stepfather.   He is one of
those unfortunate people who, like my Australian
soldier, simply cannot drink a drop, without having
to continue.   A friend of mine was at his house one
evening and Charley came in.   She noticed that his
pockets rather bulged.   He went out of the room
and then came back.   Presently loud shrieks were
heard.   These were from the unfortunate painter
who, although a man of nearly fifty, was being
unmercifully beaten by his stepfather for having
exchanged a picture for a bottle of drink.    This
poor painter had a miserable life.   One night he
was found by Rubezack, wandering in the Rue de
Vaugirard, in the pouring rain terribly drunk with
carpet slippers on and no hat or coat.   Rub&zack,
who was quite penniless, led him to the Rotonde in
the hopes that he would find a picture-dealer or
some kind person to pay the taxi to Montmartre.
Several dealers refused, although they had made
fortunes put of his pictures.   Finally a collection was
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