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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

SOUTH   AGAIN

had expected him to buy one at some enormous
cost.
Gocteau came over from Monte Carlo and joined
us after lunch. I met a Frenchman I had known
slightly in Paris, who had a villa and one of the
most beautiful gardens in the South of France. He
lived on a hill above Cap Martin. He asked me to
lunch. I mentioned, at luncheon one day, the name
of the man, and a French woman present said,
" How odd! I and my husband are lunching with
him the same day; will you come along with us in
our motor? " We started the next day, and as we
were driving through Monte Carlo we saw Cocteau.
We waved to him and he came and spoke to us. As
he smiled we noticed that his gums were bright red.
As we drove on the Frenchwoman said, " Tiens! il
a ses gencives peintes " (his gums are painted). I
said, " I wonder what he has done to them? " Coc-
teau was always finding new stunts and jokes to as-
tound the bourgeois. He was going to lunch at a large
hotel and we wondered what the effect would be on
the guests. I told F., who was very interested, but
we did not mention it to anyone else, knowing that
repeating things leads to trouble of every kind.
Unfortunately, the Frenchwoman repeated this in-
cident to Harry Melvill, who did not get on at all
well with Jean. They both liked talking all the time
and consequently it was very awkward when they
were both at a rather small party together. Harry
was delighted" and told everyone. We went to
Villefranche one day to see Cocteau and Georges
Auric, who were staying there. There we found
'. "   .. ..Y -.   .-;"- $19    '' '"-"' " '":'':"V:v;'