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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

Harry at a corner table. Jean came and joined us
and, after lunch, he took me aside and said, " Come
upstairs, I have something to show you." We went
upstairs and on the washstand were tubes and pots
of bright red paste. This was the secret of the
gencives peintes. He had found, at Nice, some tooth-
paste which, if rubbed hard enough and long enough,
made the gums bright red. F. and I immediately
on our return journey stopped at Nice and bought
some. We went home and scrubbed and scrubbed.
The effect lasted about half an hour and as we did
not propose to spend the day cleaning our teeth we
abandoned it.
One morning I was standing in the middle of my
room with no clothes on, assuming a variety of poses
and looking at myself in two mirrors, so that I could
see the effect all round.   The window was open and
suddenly the round red face of a workman appeared.
He had come up a ladder and was engaged in
painting the house.   I stood still with shock, and so
did the astonished workman.   I then walked up to
the windows and closed the shutters.    I told F.
and Poulenc, who were delighted.    I suppose the
workman told his mates who were working on the
estate, because, afterwards, they always laughed
when they saw me.   I had a letter from the English-
man who said that he had arranged for me to have
an exhibition at the Claridge Gallery in April   I
painted two pictures during my visit, as well as the
pear-tree.   They were of the farm-houses with olive
trees and I sold them all in London*
I packed up my possessions and returned to Paris'
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