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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

SOUTH    AGAIN

tioned my admiration for Marie Bashkirtseff as a
person, and was so shaken by the torrent of abuse
that I received from F., that I had recourse to the
brandy-bottle for a few minutes to recover. I think,
and still do, that F. is the most intelligent person that
I have ever met. He seemed to have read everything
that had ever existed. I had the sense to make notes
of many of his views and of all the books that he men-
tioned, all of which I shall certainly not live long
enough to read. We read Fantomas, that series of
French " bloods " in forty-two volumes, all of which
Max Jacob and Cocteau have read. F. drew most
beautifully and did two paintings of me which
he never actually finished because he decided that
he could not attain to the perfection of his original
conception. He might have been a great artist if
he had not been so intelligent and so critical. R.
was a portrait painter of considerable talent and had
had a good deal of success in Paris and, in fact, had
made quite a lot of money, but being so far from
anywhere and managing the estate, he did not paint
very much.
We motored into Cannes one morning to do some
shopping and have some cocktails at a large hotel
on the Promenade. It was filled with English and
Americans; one could easily pick out the English as
they all sat with small bottles of champagne in front
of them instead of cocktails, a habit of which I
thoroughly approved. F. heard from Francis
Poulenc to say that he was coming to Cannes to stay
with his Tante Lena, who was eighty, and F;
wrote and asked him to stay with us for a few weeks.