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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAU GHING    TORSO

I knew him quite well and was delighted, as he was
most amusing and intelligent, as all Les Six were.
We went to Cannes to fetch him from his Aunt's
house. He had a room next to mine. It was a small
room papered with the most wonderful eighteenth-
century wall-paper, with a landscape continuing all
round the walls. It looked like a Henri Rousseau
and had large snakes and huge trees and alligators
coming out of the water. F. was very proud of
this room as it had a wicker bed. I believe that it
was actually very uncomfortable, but F. showed it
to everyone with great pride.
Poulenc composed all the morning; I painted the
pear-tree and F. came and gave first Poulenc,
and then myself, advice on our respective arts. It
was delightful to paint in the sun and hear pleasant
music at the same time, and I was perfectly happy.
I taught Poulenc some of my songs, which he in-
vented accompaniments to, and I sang them some-
times to the French people who visited us. Poulenc
was terrified of birds and one morning, at about five
o'clock, I heard a knock on my door, and there was
Poulenc, who said, " Venez ici,faipeur" and under
the water-pipes of his room was a fluttering sparrow,
which he could not bear to pick up. I put my hand
underneath and took it out and threw it out of the
window. By this time the cook, who slept under-
neath, had heard voices and poked her head out of
the window. She looked up in astonishment and
saw our frightened faces and the fluttering spar-
row.
We went to Grasse one day and found "Nicole
3*2